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Housing Now: Big, bold . . . but can it be bolder?

January 25, 2019

Now here’s the sort of “big thinking” Toronto needs.

The City of Toronto has mobilized the resources at its disposal — its land, waived taxes and fees, a $20 Million revolving fund to staff up and hire consultants, and expedited planning and legal approvals — to create more affordable housing on 11 City-owned sites.

Toronto needs this “whole of government” approach if we hope to achieve Mayor Tory’s target of 40,000 new affordable homes in 12 years. Housing Now started the ball rolling with the sites they own, but this inter-divisional approach is needed for all affordable housing development. Read more…

Creating new homes in just five months

January 10, 2019

It’s a conundrum.

We know that homeless people need homes.  But when people are dying in the streets and our shelters are over-capacity, we can’t wait years to shepherd affordable or supportive housing through funding and planning approvals. So we create shelters and respite centres – not because we think they are a permanent solution to homelessness, but because they are the solution we need right now.

But what if we could create a self-contained apartment as quickly as a shelter bed?  It’s what Vancouver is doing. Read more…

Inclusionary Zoning is “definitely a good thing” — developer

November 2, 2018

Now this is what I like to hear. In the lead up to the municipal election, developer Alfonso Romano, President of Castlerock Numa, joined Steve Paikin and three other panelists to cheer on Inclusionary Zoning.

Mr. Romano described Inclusionary Zoning as “definitely a good thing,” that would create a level playing field for developers across the City. In Romano’s words, “You really need to legislate this and basically say [to the development industry], ‘You have to take up this social responsibility and be part of the solution.”

Exactly so.  Read more…

Where is the next Parkdale?

July 5, 2018

If you have been watching Toronto’s housing news as I have, you will have seen Parkdale’s name everywhere. Rent strikes that lead to major victories. City Council approval to purchase rooming houses to protect tenants from displacement. The Parkdale People’s Economy, Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre, Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust, Parkdale Community Legal Centre, and a host of other local groups pulling together towards a common cause.

And I think, “Why can’t we do this in other neighbourhoods?” and perhaps more to the point, “Why can’t we do this in MY neighbourhood?” Read more…

Okay, Toronto. It’s up to you

June 11, 2018

As I watched last Thursday’s election results, I was reminded of the motto printed on housing hero Steve Pomeroy’s letterhead: focus on what you can do, not what you cannot.

It’s a motto I hope Toronto will adopt. Read more…

Why can’t TCHC tenants move like everyone else? 

May 15, 2018

This month Toronto Community Housing is consulting tenants on ways to make its internal transfer process – the process that enables tenants already living in TCHC to move from one home to another – fairer, more consistent and better resourced.

It’s a high stakes discussion. Right now, the only way tenants can move to another TCHC unit for any reason – they need an extra bedroom, they can’t climb stairs, the man who raped them has just moved into their building – is to join TCHC’s Internal Transfer List. Read more…

The search for Akelius-proof rental investment

April 27, 2018

“We don’t just need housing supply. We need the right supply.”

It’s an important message advanced by Ryerson City Building Institute’s Cherise Burda, Creative Housing’s Jennifer Keesmaat and many others.

But as we consider new housing development, let’s also give a thought to the “right supply” we already have: the over 600,000 purpose-built rental homes that house most of Toronto’s low and moderate income families. Read more…