What are the policy solutions that could keep downtown Toronto affordable for the next generation?
That’s the topic of my Jane’s Walk, “Where will the next generation live?” It’s a two-hour tour along the street I live on, and a couple of others – ordinary, working class streets that are rapidly becoming unaffordable to anyone making less than $100,000 a year. Read more…
A year ago, this blog asked, Where will the next generation live? On March 5th, about 100 people came together to help answer that question.
The occasion was the Ralph Thornton’s Centre’s Community Matters Town Hall that asked, “Can downtown housing remain affordable for the coming generation?”
It’s a pressing issue in the east end where I live. The average rent in the east end is $993 per month. That’s way lower than the other side of the Don River, where the average rent is $1,353/month. But it’s over half what my 24-year old daughter takes home from her full-time job. And it’s roughly 90% of the monthly income of someone eking out a livelihood on the Ontario Disability Support Program.
As for buying a home? The housing market is said to be in a slump, but the average Toronto condo apartment in the 416 Region still costs $356,000; a semi goes for an average $626,000 and a detached house goes for a staggering $817,000. My husband and I have respectable incomes, but we couldn’t afford to buy on the street we live on now. And as for twenty-somethings just graduating with student loans? Hard to imagine.
So, what can we do?
On March 5th, a lightning round from four panelist opened up some possibilities:
- Jill Black, policy consultant and a former partner at Boston Consulting, asked, “Can the private sector build affordable housing?”
- Richard Drdla explored the inclusionary zoning opportunity (I can’t help thinking of half the cranes in North American now at work in Toronto)
- Mike Labbe spoke about non-profit affordable home ownership
- Onik Khan, a former Regent Park tenant, Diversity Scholarship winner and a Director of Local 75 Housing Co-op at 60 Richmond talked about social housing that works for the next generation.
And then it was the audience’s turn. We are writing up notes from the meeting and will post them on the Ralph Thornton Centre website. We will also be sending them to City Councillor Ana Bailao, the Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee and member of the TCHC Board, and the entire Affordable Housing Committee.
Minutes after the news that Peggy Birnberg had died last Friday morning, the emailed tributes began to circulate. Friends and colleagues called her strong, thoughtful, compassionate and fair – “a force,” “a gentle but insistent advocate,” a teacher, mentor and leader.
There are many people who knew Peggy better than I did. In fact, the most frequently used phrase among the emailed tributes was, “she was a good friend.” This blog is for the people who didn’t know Peggy, and especially young people hoping to make their mark in the world and perhaps seeking a different leadership model than the ones we are often presented with. Read more…
I just learned that half of North America’s construction cranes are in Toronto this year. So why aren’t they building affordable housing?
They could be. Read more…