April 27, 2017
The provincial budget was announced on Thursday and, again, no money is going toward Toronto Community Housing Corporation, the city’s social housing for people who pay rent based on a percentage of their income.
On Wednesday, city council moved to shut 134 units at its TCHC Firgrove Crescent site, and endorsed a tough-on-crime strategy to help fix the city’s social-housing system that is often described as crumbling – both literally and figuratively.
On Thursday Councillor Ana Bailão, Toronto’s Housing Advocate, said the city needs to find an approach that includes dealing with issues related to criminality and safety in the city’s communities.
“We can’t just say we’re not going to house [people convicted of crimes]. There has to be a balance between being the landlord but also understanding that these problems exist in our city. … Given the lack of housing that we have, the responsibility that we have as a city as a steward of public money, that we ensure these subsidies and units are being awarded to the people who truly need them,” Bailão told Signal Toronto after the budget launch.
The councillor also responded to a question about Toronto’s own social-housing corporation as ground zero for the overlap between vulnerable people who need help, and who may be the same people who commit serious crimes. “TCHC is a very complex organization because it’s a landlord but it’s also is a social housing provider and it provides several services around the housing as well, and that’s one of the things we’re looking at,” Bailão said. “Should some of those services be provided by TCHC? Should some of those services be provided directly from the city? And it doesn’t matter if the person lives at TCHC or anywhere else; they should have those kinds of services as well. These are complex issues.”
Mayor John Tory was scheduled to be available to media Thursday evening after the provincial budget launched, but instead reporters waited outside his office until a statement from his office was sent that included rescheduling for Friday morning.
“The provincial government appears to have missed an opportunity to partner in the historic investments made by the federal government in much needed future transit expansion and repairs to our vital social housing,” the statement said.
Tory is expected to provide comment on the provincial budget Friday morning.