City of Toronto promotes safe and affordable rooming houses

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The City of Toronto today announced that it has issued a request for proposals for repairs and upgrades to rooming houses and single-occupancy residences in Toronto. The investment, which will improve the living conditions of about 400 tenants in approximately 30 rooming houses, will draw upon federal and provincial funding in support of affordable housing in the city. 

Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport), the City's Housing Advocate, made the announcement outside a former illegal Kensington Market rooming house where two people died and 10 were injured in a fire last year. She was accompanied by Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina) and officials from Municipal Licensing and Standards (ML&S) and Toronto Fire. 

"Council understands the important role legal, regulated rooming houses play in providing homes for lower-income residents," said Councillor Bailão. "As a result, we are taking a number of steps to promote their safety and security." 

Preserving and repairing licensed/legal rooming houses and developing new licensed rooming houses are priorities under the City's 10-year housing plan, Housing Opportunities Toronto. As directed by Council, ML&S and City Planning have launched a consultation process with the public, stakeholders and rooming house owners to improve living conditions for rooming house tenants and understand the impact that rooming houses have on surrounding communities. 

"I am pleased the City through the consultation process is seeking to uncover diverse perspectives on rooming houses and begin a constructive conversation about possible solutions for all stakeholders - without jeopardizing housing for vulnerable tenants," said Councillor Cesar Palacio (Ward 17 Davenport), Chair of the Licensing and Standards Committee. 

The city's housing crunch has made licensed and regulated rooming houses an important source of housing for low-income and vulnerable individuals.Some 5,000 people live in approximately 214 licensed, regulated rooming houses and 48 Parkdale bachelorettes in the pre-amalgamation cities of Toronto, York and Etobicoke, where they are permitted. Many more live in unregulated rooming house properties across present-day Toronto. 

More information is available on the Municipal Licensing and Standards website at toronto.ca/roominghousereview and the Affordable Housing Office website at 
toronto.ca/affordablehousing

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us@TorontoComms

Gil Hardy

Affordable Housing Office

ghardy@toronto.ca

416-397-4701

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