We hosted a packed house at Toronto City Council Chambers on Tuesday, April 28th for our Close the Housing Gap Rally. In fact, we saw such a phenomenal turnout from Torontonians who support affordable housing that more than 50 people watched in an overflow room as the event got under way. The energy throughout City Hall was phenomenal!
As Campaign Co-Chair and the City's Affordable Housing Advocate, I had the honour of welcoming everyone and facilitating the forum. I used this opportunity to emphasize that Ottawa and Queen's Park have a duty to pay their fair share of social housing repairs, they have a duty to support co-op housing for the long-term and they have a duty to create a housing strategy with a stable, long-term commitment to increased funding. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in the lead up to this fall's Federal election and to keep pushing for change until the Federal and Provincial Governments provide their fair share for social and affordable housing.
Those messages were driven home and enhanced by the remarks from Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell who is responsible for Toronto's Poverty Reduction Strategy, as well as from Bud Purves who Co-Chairs the Campaign and also serves as Chair of TCHC. The energy in the room was brought to a crescendo when Tom Clement from the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto had everyone clapping and cheering so loudly that I'm sure the message reached all the way to Ottawa!
The speakers that followed from tenant organizations like Atahualpa Co-op's Nichole Waldron, TCHC resident Susan Gapka and long-time advocate Doris Power sent strong and heartfelt messages from the grassroots. Remarks followed from approximately a dozen audience members and we closed the event with a call to action. Event participants and everyone listening to this growing conversation were encouraged to go and speak to friends, family, their Member of Provincial Parliament and Member of Parliament.
Let's put people first and close the housing gap!