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TCHC’s $1.34 Billion: Is it the real deal?

May 14, 2019

Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $1.34 Billion investment to address Toronto Community Housing’s repair backlog.

It was the biggest one-time federal housing announcement in Canadian history. It was everything that TCHC had asked for, and the culmination of advocacy efforts that began in 2005 with the tenant-led Save our Structures campaign.

And yet the response from housing advocates has been strangely muted. Read more…

So THAT’s why we can’t find affordable homes!

May 3, 2019

Did everyone get to see PUSH, the new film screened to sell-out audiences at this year’s Hot Docs Festival? Or to hear UN Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha speak at last Tuesday’s Planning and Housing Committee?

Ms. Farha offers a welcome alternative to the thesis that a housing crisis can be solved simply by building more homes, and that the government’s job is to get out of the way. Read more…

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…