Affordable housing in Toronto   Leave a comment

A new house in Willowdale

The following letter was submitted to The editor of The Toronto Star:

January 27, 2012

Letters to the Editor

The Toronto Star

One Yonge Street

Toronto, ON

Dear Sir;

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 the CEO of Toronto Community Housing, Len Koroneos, wrote a column in support of the TCHC proposal to finance repairs to TCHC housing by confiscating other TCHC housing. His proposal seems to be as sensible as cutting a hole in one sleeve of my shirt in order to patch a hole in the other sleeve.

Currently the appointed Board of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) is proposing to sell off at least 675 units of TCHC housing, and use the money gained to finance repairs that are necessary in other homes that TCHC manages. This would be taking affordable housing from those who need it to provide repairs to affordable housing to a fortunate few. Some might say that it is like robbing Peter in order to pay Paul.

The argument that Mr. Koroneos advocates boils down to a justification for repairing the homes of TCHC tenants by using money from the sale of other TCHC housing. If implemented, this means that the TCHC would have fewer homes available to rent at a time when the waiting list for affordable housing is getting longer and longer. It also means that Toronto will be moving away from a healthy community model of providing a variety of housing types in communities throughout the city.

Who is responsible for this state of affairs? It is obvious that neither the City of Toronto, nor the Province of Ontario, have adequately funded the TCHC. TCHC tenants have been robbed of the money fro repairs to their homes in order to prevent tax increases for homeowners and businesses. This has resulted in a situation whereby many homes of TCHC tenants have been permitted to fall into disrepair. Some homes have been neglected to the point where they cannot be occupied without a substantial investment in repairs.

As a citizen of Toronto who wants to have affordable housing for all who require it, I am asking this question about the accountability of the TCHC Board, and the political elite who appointed this Board. Who is responsible for the decisions to under-fund the TCHC? Do these Board members live in TCHC housing? Why did the political elite not provide adequate funding for necessary repairs to TCHC housing? Do they permit their homes to fall into disrepair?

Each week I meet people in my parish who are marginally housed, and some who live on the cold concrete of Toronto’s sidewalks. There are tens of thousands of families on the waiting list for affordable housing here in Toronto. These are people who deserve a place to call home. Providing affordable housing to those who need it is a sign of a just society. We can do it.

The proposal by Mr. Koroneos would reduce the number of TCHC housing units. It does not deal with the fundamental issue of under-funding the TCHC. It also has the possibility of leading us down the road to the ghettoization of social housing in our fair city. If accepted, this would make the present Board as culpable as former TCHC Boards for an injustice perpetrated on the poor of Toronto.

Repairing the funding model is a more appropriate way for the Board of the TCHC, and their political masters, to invest their time and energy. Their current proposal seems to be as sensible as removing one door from the house to replace a broken door in another part of the house.

Yours truly;

Rev. Allan Baker, Newtonbrook United Church

cc Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Housing

cc Margarett Best, M.P.P.

Cc Mayor Ford

Cc Councillor Ainslie

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: