Putting Tenants First at Toronto Community Housing

Some of you will recall that back in 2012, I led the charge against the mass sell-off of Toronto Community Housing single family homes, keeping a large majority of them in public ownership and helped propose solutions to put TCH on a stronger financial footing than ever before. As part of this work, a 10-year $2.6 billion capital repair plan for TCH was developed and capital repair spending has increased from $70 million in 2013 to $250 million today.

As part of that plan, we requested that the upper levels of government each fund a 1/3 share of capital repairs. Since then, the City has fully committed its 1/3 share and have called on the upper levels of government to also be active partners with the City in addressing this important shared responsibility.

However, addressing the capital repairs backlog is only one of the critically important parts of placing TCH on the path to long-term success. We must also ensure the organisation is more responsive to tenants and ensure the services provided are best equipped to ensure the long term prosperity and sustainability of our communities. Over the past two years, the City has been engaged in extensive work, first through the Mayor's Task Force on TCH and now the Tenants First Implementation Plan, which will be in front of City Council in July.

The Tenants First report proposes changes to transform TCH and bring it closer to the needs of tenants. The report has been informed by the input of tenants who have shared their lived experience, knowledge and advice as part of this plan.

The report recommends the creation of a new Seniors Housing and Services entity that would be responsible for the management of 83 TCH seniors buildings, better connecting long-term care needs with our Local Health Integration Networks and healthcare services.

In addition, there are recommendations around decentralizing TCH, seeking non-profit, co-op and land trust partners to operate TCH's portfolio of single family homes, creating a new TCH focused on providing housing to families, individuals, youth and vulnerable tenants including seniors, a new funding model to address both short and long term needs, and more. You can read the full report and recommendations here.

This work being undertaken is not easy, but it has the potential to place TCH on the path to long-term sustainability and ensure the 110,000 tenants living in TCH buildings are better served for years to come. I look forward to continuing this important transformative work in consultation with tenants, staff, my colleagues and many community stakeholders.

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  • Kaviri Harrison
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