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Who will pay for a transformed TCHC?

February 10, 2016

“It’s all about the money.”

That was the phrase on just about every Councillor’s lips during the Executive Committee’s January 28th discussion about the Mayor’s Task Force on Toronto Community Housing.

I agree. Whether TCHC, NewHome or a group of smaller non-profit or co-op corporations assumes responsibility for the 58,500 homes now owned by TCHC, the numbers have to add up. Read more…


Five Task Force ideas that will change tenants’ lives

January 29, 2016

This week news outlets were buzzing about the “transformative changes” recommended in the Mayor’s Task Force on Toronto Community Housing: a transition to a new non-profit housing corporation, increased income-mixing, accelerated development.

These are the “meta-changes” that will be the focus of discussion at City Hall and will require careful analysis from City staff. But tucked into the report are recommendations that have generated far less media coverage but will, quite literally, reach tenants where they live.

Here is my list of the Task Force’s “top five for tenants.” Read more…

TCHC: Some ideas just won’t work

October 15, 2015

I’m not the only amateur pundit concocting “big and bold” ideas for TCHC’s future. As I scan the comments sections of the Toronto media, or simply talk to friends, I hear all sorts of ideas for reforming TCHC.

However, some of these ideas remind me of an old cartoon. The consultant is standing beside a graph chart in a corporate boardroom saying, “When I say reform, I don’t necessarily mean better.” Here are four widely circulating reform ideas that I think would do more harm than good. Read more…

TCHC: Big, bold . . . and BETTER

September 29, 2015

The Mayor’s Task Force on TCHC has been mandated to consider “big and bold” ideas for TCHC’s future.

They are needed. Getting it Done, TCHC’s response to the recommendations in the Mayor’s Task Force’s Interim Report, points the way with great ideas — 60 new cleaners, community safety officers assigned to regular beats, the possibility of live-in supers, and the inspiring Re-Set initiative. But I confess that I, backed by decades of experience, lack confidence that TCHC will be able to execute these great ideas without structural change. Read more…

Rooming houses for a more affordable Toronto

September 17, 2015

Many years ago flames flared out of our family’s fireplace. In the two minutes it took to scoot my young children out the door and bring the fire under control, the smoke had spread throughout the house and filled my third-floor bedroom with ash.

The fire taught me that my home’s staircase functions as a chimney that can instantly spread danger to every part of the house.

What did I do about it? Nothing.

Read more…

Turning around George: A success worth repeating

August 25, 2015

I hope all of you saw Ben Spurr’s excellent article in the August 11th Star, “Making social housing work: a TCHC success story.” The article describes the turnaround of 291 George Street — a 132-unit building that even street-hardened men were too scared to live in — into a clean and decent home.

If anything, the article downplays the building’s success. In just one year after the “turnaround pilot” was introduced: Read more…

Rooming houses made respectable

April 28, 2015

How do you help newcomers afford their first mortgage, seniors stay in their homes longer, or students find a home close to campus? You rent out rooms. Read more…