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CanadaFord government injects $1B to fix Ontario's affordable housing crisis

12:26  18 april  2019
12:26  18 april  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Ottawa's $1.3B investment is 'critically urgent' to fix Toronto's affordable housing, TCH head says

Ottawa's $1.3B investment is 'critically urgent' to fix Toronto's affordable housing, TCH head says Financial relief from the federal Liberal government is "critically urgent" in helping to fix Toronto's decade-long problem of crumbling affordable housing stock and will allow Toronto Community Housing (TCH) provide tenants with the "best possible space," chief executive touts.

Premier Doug Ford 's government has earmarked more than $ 1 billion to repair Ontario ' s languishing affordable housing and to end homelessness across the province. The funding boost is part of Ontario ' s Community Housing Renewal Strategy, and promises to remove the red tape of a system

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Ford government injects $1B to fix Ontario's affordable housing crisis© Nathan Denette/Canadian Press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Mayor John Tory announced a $1.3-billion funding infusion to help fix Toronto's decade-long problem of crumbling community housing stock earlier this month.

Premier Doug Ford's government has earmarked more than $1 billion aimed at helping to repair Ontario's languishing affordable housing stock and end homelessness across the province.

The funding boost is part of Ontario's Community Housing Renewal Strategy and pledges to remove the red tape of a system the province deems "fragmented and inefficient," in order to streamline repairs. The money will start being doled out this year.

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Ontario Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark says the provincial government will allow community housing providers to reject tenants who have previously been evicted for criminal activity. Ford government promises $ 1 B to fix Ontario ' s affordable housing crisis .

"Our government believes Ontario families shouldn't have to live in buildings with crumbling walls, leaking roofs and broken elevators," Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark said in a news release Wednesday.

"We will work with municipalities and non-profits to address issues like safety, overcrowding and long wait lists."

Clark was joined by Health Minister and Newmarket-Aurora MPP Christine Elliott as he revealed the Progressive Conservative's new plan in Newmarket, Ont., this morning.

One of the Ford government's main goals includes cutting back on the waitlists for social housing. Under the new framework, prospective tenants will be required to "prioritize their first choice and accept the first unit they are offered," according to a news release.

Ontario budget doesn't have much on offer for Toronto's housing crisis

Ontario budget doesn't have much on offer for Toronto's housing crisis Premier Doug Ford’s first provincial budget offers Toronto a few things. But it doesn’t offer any confirmation of new provincial support for housing for a city suffering from a deep affordable housing crisis. Following an announcement last week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that pledged $1.3 billion in federal funding and loans over 10 years to repair Toronto Community Housing (TCH) units, the Ontario Progressive Conservative government didn't use their budget announcement Thursday as an opportunity to jump in with housing funds of their own.

Premier Doug Ford 's government changed the rules across the province to ensure prospective social housing tenants accept the first choice they're offered, saying there was a need to keep wait lists moving. Ford government promises $ 1 B to fix Ontario ' s affordable housing crisis .

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Further, social housing providers, such as Toronto Community Housing (TCH), will also be empowered to reject tenants who have been previously evicted for criminal activity.

New policy 'sends a strong message to criminals': Tory

Mayor John Tory applauded the province's move, pointing out that it has been a "long-standing request" from city officials for the province to change laws to help social housing providers ban repeat criminals from reapplying.

"After years of advocacy to previous governments, I want to thank Minister Clark for finally listening to the City of Toronto's request and taking action," Tory said in a statement on Wednesday.

"I know our two governments have a shared determination to ensure the safety of all our residents, especially seniors and families who live in TCH."

Ford government injects $1B to fix Ontario's affordable housing crisis© Christopher Katsarov/Canadian PressMinister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark, right, announced $1 billion in financial relief on Wednesday to help repair Ontario's community housing stock.

In April 2017, Tory tabled a motion at city hall calling on the province to change the Housing Services Act to allow TCH to block tenants it has kicked out. At the time, city council voted unanimously to support the mayor's motions.

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Ontario ' s previous Liberal government admitted that the evidence that a lack of rent control creates more But reality is a funny thing. One year later, rental housing development — far from cratering — has surged to The government says it will encourage developers to build more affordable housing .

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However, the province's previous Liberal government never budged to support the plan. At the time, former housing minister Chris Ballard said that he was concerned with the city's calls for a ban because it could lead to more people going homeless.

Tory renewed efforts to bring about change following Ford's spring election victory. In an open letter to Clark, he expressed his "disappointment" that the province had not acted on the earlier request.

"We have a duty as governments to do everything possible to stop the misconduct of a small group of people who are disrupting the lives of law-abiding Toronto Community Housing residents," Tory said on Wednesday.

"This change by the province sends a strong message to criminals that they are not welcome in TCHC and we will not tolerate them threatening the peace and wellbeing of our communities," he continued.

Last year, Canada's largest affordable housing provider beefed up security in the face of rising violence on its properties. The Toronto Police Services Board approved TCH's request to increase its capacity of special constables from 160 to 300, although it says that many will not be hired in the near future.

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Ford government injects $1B to fix Ontario's affordable housing crisis© Rob Krbavac/CBCThe Toronto Police Services Board approved TCH's request to increase its capacity of special constables from 160 to 300, although it says that many will not be hired in the near future.

The province's announcement almost matches the federal Liberal government's funding pledge earlier this month to combat a growing repair backlog Toronto faces in the years ahead — with TCH repairs making up a substantial portion.

Ottawa has announced a $1.3-billion funding infusion that will be distributed over a 10-year period. The public housing agency is currently facing a $1.6 billion repair backlog that looks set to balloon to around $3 billion in the next decade.

The cash will go to renovating some 58,000 TCH units starting as early as this spring.

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