The Mayor’s Task Force on Toronto Community Housing announced today in its Interim Report that it has found hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funds for housing repairs through mortgage re-financing.
Working closely with officials from the City and Toronto Community Housing (TCH), the Task Force helped re-finance a number of TCH mortgages, freeing up an additional $171 million this year, and $200 million next year, to be put towards the backlog in repairs.
The Task Force was also instrumental in securing federal assistance to re-finance a separate set of TCH mortgages held by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. That assistance, announced in the federal government’s 2015 budget, will also provide significant funds – over and above the money already mentioned – for repairs.
Also in the Interim Report, the Task Force calls on TCH to take immediate steps to improve the lives of tenants, including:
• getting drug dealers out of TCH housing by re-deploying TCH community safety staff and petitioning the province for tougher legislation on evictions and trespassing;
• providing more jobs and opportunities for residents, particularly youth; and
• developing stronger, more transparent standards for cleaning, repairs and removal of pests.
“I am very pleased that in just six months the Task Force has identified significant sums of money that will help us keep up with the repair work on our public housing stock,” said Mayor John Tory. “This is a great help, and while the federal and provincial government must still do their parts, it shows the City taking leadership in this vitally important area. I would also hope the TCH Board moves right away on the Task Force’s recommendations to improve the safety and security of tenants, by getting the drug dealers and those who would prey on vulnerable tenants out.”
“One of the most common themes we heard is that tenants do not feel safe in their own homes. That’s not right and it needs to be addressed right away,” said Senator Art Eggleton, Chair of the Task Force. “The Task Force also wants TCH to ramp up repair work to deliver real improvements for tenants by the end of the year.”
Since January, the Task Force has heard from more than 1,200 people who shared what they think is working well at TCH and what needs to be improved. In addition to meetings with unions, TCH board members, 40 stakeholder groups and tenant representatives, Task Force members heard from more than 900 city residents who attended the five community meetings.
Members of the Mayor’s Task Force are serving in a voluntary capacity. The independent group reports directly to the Mayor. It includes experts from the areas of social housing, finance, real estate development, social policy, and tenant advocacy at TCH.
The interim report focuses on immediate steps that could be taken to improve the lives of tenants. The final report, due in December, will look at opportunities for partnership and innovation, capital revitalization and new development and governance.
The Interim Report is available here: toronto.ca/tch-taskforce