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FORUM (JUNE 2017): Address affordable housing

June 30th, 2017 · No Comments

All levels of government must take responsibility

By Joe Cressy

Some people measure the progress of a city by the speed of its transit systems or the quality of its public parks, by the number of schools in a neighbourhood, or by the number of potholes filled each year.

These are significant factors for a city’s livability, but I believe that one of the most important measures of a city’s progress is how well it cares for all of its residents, especially those who are most vulnerable.

I will be blunt: Toronto is experiencing a crisis in affordable housing. There are currently 181,000 people on the Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) waiting list. In 2018, money for capital repairs to address the over $2 billion backlog at TCHC will run out.

This not only means that we cannot complete the necessary repairs that make our neighbours’ homes livable, but it also means that when the funds run out, units will be in danger of closing.

This is not acceptable. We cannot let that happen.

All levels of government have a responsibility to invest in our social housing system to ensure that units are safe, affordable, and livable. All levels of government have a responsibility to ensure that all residents of Toronto, regardless of income, have access to a safe place to live. Closing units, with more families being denied access to safe housing, should not be an option.

What are the other levels of government doing? The federal government has promised funds, but details are yet to be confirmed. And the provincial government is absent — they have made no commitment to provide any funding for these desperately needed repairs within TCHC. They must come to the table and fulfill their obligation to all the residents of Toronto.

Let me be clear: even without the partnership of the federal and provincial governments, we cannot let a single TCHC unit close in 2018. We must do more as a city if our government counterparts do not step up. The situation is too serious, and the consequences of inaction are too dire.

We must all continue to push the federal and provincial governments strongly and loudly to help TCHC. I will also fight to ensure that not a single unit is closed in 2018 — I hope you will join me.

Please write to your local member of Parliament and member of provincial Parliament to advocate for the desperately needed funds for our social housing system and to Mayor Tory to let him know that closing TCHC units in 2018 is unacceptable.

Joe Cressy is the councillor for Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina.

 

READ MORE BY JOE CRESSY

FORUM: Build a neighbourhood (March 2017)

FORUM: Conserving past to enrich future (January 2017)

FORUM: Our dynamic Kensington Market (November 2016)

FORUM: A new central park for Toronto (September 2016)

Tags: Annex · Columns · Opinion