Close the Housing Gap social housing campaign launched in Toronto


The City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing (TCH) have launched Close the Housing Gap, an advocacy campaign to persuade the federal and provincial governments to continue funding social housing at existing levels and provide new, long-term funding for social housing capital repairs.

“The City is working hard with its partner Toronto Community Housing to put people first by fixing social housing,” said Campaign Co-Chair Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport). “But there is still a housing gap which can only be closed through new and ongoing funding from Ottawa and Queen’s Park. Raising property taxes is not the answer.”

“By implementing recommendations in the Putting People First report, we already have plans in place to generate $156 million in revenue to help pay for repairs and there’s more to come,” said Bud Purves, Campaign Co-Chair and Chair of the Toronto Community Housing Board. “But, with our aging buildings, the repair backlog will continue to grow in the coming years unless the federal and provincial governments step up.”

Federal contributions to social housing are declining across the country. In 2012, the City of Toronto received approximately $161.3 million from Ottawa. However, by 2017, that will decline by $33.4 million and reach zero by 2031.

Just to fill the $33.4-million gap alone would require raising property taxes by an estimated 1.4 per cent.

At the same time, the province has failed to harmonize social assistance subsidies between private market and social housing renters. This means Toronto has to cover an annual shortfall of some $81 million.

The Close the Housing Gap campaign calls for
- the federal government to stop withdrawing money for social housing and instead reinvest that money back into social housing capital repairs;
- the provincial government to treat social housing providers fairly when paying social assistance rent rates, and
- the federal and provincial governments to provide fully-funded, long-term housing strategies.

The campaign will employ bus shelter posters, buttons, pamphlets, postcards, public events and other means to deliver its message. Social housing residents and a broad spectrum of partners will be involved.

Torontonians will be encouraged to mobilize their communities, organize campaign events and contact federal and provincial politicians to urge them to close the housing gap. Organizations and municipalities across Ontario and Canada will be able to adapt the theme for their own advocacy initiatives.

The Close the Housing Gap campaign is one of the recommended actions in Putting People First – Transforming Toronto Community Housing, adopted by City Council in November, 2012.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Media contacts:
Luis Medeiros, Councillor Ana Bailão’s Office, 416-392-7012, [email protected]
Gil Hardy, Policy and Communications, Affordable Housing Office, 416-397-4701[email protected]
Sinead Canavan, Manager, Media and Issues, Toronto Community Housing, 416-981-4346,[email protected]

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