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An Ontario Affordable Housing Strategy for everyone

March 16, 2016

When we think about housing policy, we often think about people who have “fallen through the cracks.”

But what happens when the cracks become wider than the pavement? When the majority of people cannot afford their own home? When most people have precarious incomes? When Toronto has more low-income neighbourhoods – 49% of the City![1] — than middle-income neighbourhoods? Read more…

TCHC: A Case for “Non-Profitization”

February 18, 2016

On January 16th, the Mayor’s Task Force recommended that Toronto Community Housing be transitioned to a new community-based non-profit housing corporation.

It’s a good idea, but it’s not a new one. In the UK, the US, and Australia, governments have recognized the community sector can do a better job of creating and managing housing than they can.

It’s the same conclusion reached over 40 years ago in Canada. In 1973, the Federal Government abandoned the old public housing model – where government built, owned and managed the housing — in favour of independent non-profit and co-op housing corporations. Read more…

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…