Toronto city councillors unanimously approved a new funding model for the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) on Tuesday. The “tenants first” project will begin in 2020. The TCHC will receive a 47.7 per cent increase in funding from 2019 to keep the buildings in good condition and maintain other responsibilities that come with being a landlord.
Coun. Paula Fletcher, Ward 30, Toronto – Danforth, and board member of TCHC, said during the council meeting that politicians have been “working in a silo, but [they] need to work together.”
Mayor John Tory echoed Fletcher’s sentiments by labelling the new policies as a city-wide commitment.
City council held its twelfth meeting of the year on Tuesday, with a bulk of the time spent deliberating about housing in Toronto. Although TCHC was founded in 2002, it has not been able to secure permanent financing. The decision to adopt the proposed model was a historic moment for the organization, according to Tory.
The funding will include a one-time payment of $250-million for operating and an annual contribution of $160 million for capital every year for ten years. This money will allow the more than 100,000 tenants who live in community housing to have safe and reliable places to reside, the mayor said.
The funding will help bridge the gap between the true cost of renting an apartment and what the tenants can afford to pay. TCHC staff were unable to say exactly how many families would benefit from the money.
“Now it’s really a matter of getting results for that money and working together to get the best for what we are putting in,” said Tory, during a scrum when the meeting broke for lunch recess.
Many councillors made a case for the importance of adopting the plan, as public housing has become a source of disorder, such as drug dealing, in many neighbourhoods. However, councillors such as Mike Colle, Ward 8, Eglinton – Lawrence, didn’t see the funding as the solution to the more significant issues such as security, impacting people who live in community housing.
“We could have the best programs for supportive housing, we could have the best buildings in the state of good repair, but if people don’t feel safe in their homes, all that is really meaningless,” Colle said.