September and October was an exciting time for action on affordable housing in our city. As Toronto's Housing Advocate I have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of different housing related announcements and activities ranging from announcing new public investments and partnerships in Toronto Community Housing to calling on our federal political parties to make affordable housing commitments. I have included a snapshot of some of the activities I took part in during the past two months.
TCH TAF TowerWise Retrofit Announcement
On Tuesday September 22 I had the pleasure in announcing the TowerWise Retrofit Project – a partnership between the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCH). TAF is investing $4.2 million to implement energy efficiency upgrades in seven TCH buildings across Toronto. This project will help create local jobs, improve the environment, reduce carbon emissions, save TCH money, and improve the health and comfort of TCH residents. Supporting this partnership is one example of how the City is working hard to improve the quality of life for TCH residents. With further investment from all levels of government, I sincerely hope that we can make these types of projects a reality in all TCH buildings across Toronto.
Big City Mayors' Caucus Meeting
In late September, Toronto hosted a meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Big City Mayors' Caucus to specifically discuss the issue of affordable housing. The Mayors of Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, London, Kitchener, and Halifax came together and urged all federal political party leaders to play a leadership role on the issue. Affordable housing is an issue that is directly related to the issue that all federal political leaders have decided to focus on during this election campaign: the economy and jobs. I was honoured to participate in their meeting, tour the YWCA's Elm Centre and kick off the press conference. Hopefully following October 19, our federal government will have a renewed focus and energy on this very important issue.
TCH ReSet Announcement
On September 25 I had the pleasure of helping to announce the launch of ReSet, an innovative approach to capital repairs being piloted in three TCH communities with nearly 900 households. The ReSet program will bundle multiple capital repair jobs in each community and deliver them as one project, resulting in cost savings, faster repairs and safer communities. I am excited that the ReSet program will engage Toronto Community Housing residents while providing quicker, less disruptive and significant capital repairs to their communities. With new investment from the provincial and federal governments, I am confident that we can make the ReSet program a reality in Toronto Community Housing buildings across Toronto. To find out more about this program please click here.
World Habitat Day
The first Monday in October is World Habitat Day and I had the opportunity to read the Mayoral proclamation on behalf of Mayor Tory.
"World Habitat Day is a time to reflect on the state of our cities and towns, emphasize everyone's right to adequate shelter and to remind the world that we all have the power and a responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.
This year's theme, "Public Spaces for All," sheds light on the importance of providing public spaces that enhance community cohesion and promote health, happiness, and the well-being of all citizens.
The City of Toronto's affordable housing and homelessness initiatives are guided by Toronto's Affordable Housing Action Plan, 2010–2020. It is a plan that helps to affirm the City's commitment to continue working with its partners to address housing needs.
This year, with the assistance of the federal and provincial governments and private and non-profit groups, the City of Toronto is opening 217 affordable rental and ownership homes, while assisting more than 2,500 residents with home repairs."
Lawrence Heights Announcement
Earlier this week, I joined my colleagues Mayor John Tory and Councillor Josh Colle in announcing that phase one of the Lawrence Heights Revitalization project will be getting underway. Prior to the announcement I had the pleasure of meeting with some local residents to discuss life in Lawrence Heights, the revitalization, and their future hopes and dreams. I strongly believe that everyone in our city deserves a secure home where they can build their dreams and enjoy a better life and this partnership will help deliver real results for residents in the vibrant Lawrence Heights community with new, clean, safe, and affordable homes. I am particularly excited by the creation of local employment opportunities and scholarships for residents in Lawrence Heights as part of the revitalization. To find out more about the project please read this backgrounder.