Statement on the Mayor’s Task Force Report on Toronto Community Housing

For Immediate Release

January 26, 2016

Statement from Toronto’s Housing Advocate Councillor Ana Bailão

about the Mayor’s Task Force Report on Toronto Community Housing

"As Toronto's Housing Advocate, I welcome the recommendations outlined in the Toronto Community Housing (TCH) Task Force Report and would like to thank Senator Art Eggleton and the members of the Task Force who have worked tirelessly to develop this comprehensive report.

In 2012, I led a Council-backed effort to address TCH's capital repair funding challenges. The result was a series of recommendations contained in the report Putting People First. I believe the Task Force Report does just that and builds on the solid foundation of our earlier work.

In fact, the City and TCH have made considerable progress in putting the people of our social housing communities first.

We have increased capital repair investments to $250 million from $50 million annually, moved ahead with revitalization projects in more communities, developed partnerships, and stabilized the organization. As well, the City has assumed management of the social-housing wait list.

Together, the City, TCH, and our supporters ran the Close the Housing Gap Campaign to persuade the federal and provincial governments to step up, not back, when it comes to funding social, co-op, and affordable housing. The campaign helped to put social housing back on the political agenda.

However, because of TCH's structure and history, the organization is unsustainable financially and socially. It needs the transformational change proposed in the Task Force report to better provide clean, safe, well-maintained, affordable homes for residents and better serve our communities.

To mention a few, the report recommends creating a community-based, non-profit housing provider, a decentralized organizational structure, and an aggressive building program. It suggests moving to more mixed communities and on-site hubs in partnership with other non-profit organizations to better serve residents.

Mayor Tory will be bringing the Task Force's final report to the Executive Committee for consideration on January 28, 2016 with recommendations that the report be immediately referred to the City manager for assessment; that the City Manager report to the Executive Committee this spring with an overall approach for how to move forward with TCH transformation; and a second report to be delivered by the fall outlining a detailed, long-term implementation plan for transformation.

There is a lot of work to do in the months ahead and it is crucial that this implementation plan is developed together with Toronto City Council and TCH residents to ensure success.

The proposed changes have the potential to vastly improve the lives of TCH residents. But, equally important, they can complement and enhance the City’s on-going affordable housing efforts, including the establishment of the Open Door Program, and can improve and strengthen the delivery of housing in our city.

Moving forward, the success and sustainability of TCH is the first step. But through the implementation of Task Force report I see the potential to strengthen our entire non-profit housing sector.

We can create a resident-focused culture in the delivery of housing through more transparency and choice. As well, we can provide service-based access to housing with better and more mixed housing communities in greater numbers through building and revitalization projects with private and non-profit partners.

For this plan to be successful, we need our federal and provincial partners at the table and, most importantly, the collaboration and involvement of TCH residents every step of the way. There is not one order of government or one sector in our society that can tackle this issue. We need collaboration, innovation, and commitment to address what is one of the biggest social and economic challenges in Toronto and Canada.

Because the way forward is through partnerships, I look forward to working with Mayor Tory, my Council colleagues, City staff, organized labour, stakeholders, TCH, and its residents as we review the recommendations and embark on a process to provide clean, safe, well maintained, and affordable homes for over 110,000 TCH residents and the hundreds of thousands more who are in need of affordable housing in our city. They deserve no less."

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Media Contact:

Robert Cerjanec, Executive Assistant to Councillor Ana Bailão

416-338-5274, rcerjan@toronto.ca

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