Toronto welcomes federal housing funding, calls on province to step up (Metro News)

In an article published March 22, 2017, Metro News discusses housing relief that will be provided from the federal budget with 11.2B in funding over the span of 11 years.

You can view the article below or here at: http://www.metronews.ca/news/toronto/2017/03/22/toronto-housing-funding-2017-budget.html

Toronto welcomes federal housing funding, calls on province to step up (Metro News) 

While details still need to be ironed out, city council housing advocate Coun. Ana Bailao welcomed the news.

Finance Minister delivers the 2017 budget.

SEAN KILPATRICK/CANADIAN PRESS

Finance Minister delivers the 2017 budget.

Toronto will get some much-needed housing relief from the federal budget.

The government announced $11.2 billion in funding over 11 years. Specific items address longstanding requests from Toronto, including money for social housing and shelter support.

While details still need to be ironed out, city council housing advocate Coun. Ana Bailao welcomed the news.

“We feel like we’re going to have a national housing strategy with funds behind it,” she told Metro, in reference to a yet-to-be released plan. “It feels great to have a partner at the table.”

The $11.2 billion includes $3.2 billion for affordable-housing initiatives, which can cover rent subsidies and repairs to existing housing. There is also $2.1 billion for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, a program that aims to prevent and reduce homelessness. The funding nearly doubles the current commitment and extends it from 2019 to 2022.

A total of $5 billion will go toward a National Housing Fund, which will help finance direct lending for new rental housing. The fund will also give additional funding to affordable-housing providers as their operating agreements expire. More details about the fund will be released with the launch of the National Housing Strategy later in the year.

Bailao stressed that the details will have a big impact on Toronto and argued for a needs-based approach rather than allocating funds on a per capita basis.

“We have a much higher percentage of people in social housing,” said Bailao, who also referenced the record-length Toronto Community Housing waiting list and billions in needed repairs.

City hall has struggled for years to convince other orders of government to invest in housing. While the funding was welcomed, there were immediate calls for the provincial government to match it.

Budget chief Gary Crawford said the city needs partnerships with the other two orders of government to get things done.

Bailao echoed the sentiment: “There’s not one level of government that can solve this on their own.”

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