2018 Toronto election: The affordable housing pledge

Half of Toronto renters are spending more than 30% of their incomes on housing. Young people are being forced out of the city, newcomers can’t find a foothold, and homelessness has never been greater. It’s a crisis that affects us all: women and families unable to find a safe and lasting home, closed doors for Indigenous, racialized and LGBTQ2SIA people, and unsuitable conditions for people with disabilities.

Housing is a fundamental human right. We are seeking your pledge for this next term of Council: to take five practical steps towards making Toronto a fairer and more equitable city for all.

1. No more homeless deaths
Since the last municipal election, 201 homeless people have died. We’re on the path to protecting people from the elements by creating 1000 new shelter beds, and upgrading respite centres and Out of the Cold programs. Now we also need to ramp up the tools we have – housing allowances and appropriate supports, first and last month’s rent, legal and family support — to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place.

I pledge: to fulfill City Council’s commitments to upgrade our emergency shelter system to ensure it has the capacity to meet immediate needs, and to develop and fund a systematic approach to preventing homelessness.

2. Financial stability for Toronto Community Housing
TCHC houses 58,500 of Toronto’s lowest-income families and seniors. We can’t afford to lose a single home. Toronto promised to introduce a permanent funding formula in 2019 to put TCHC on a stable financial footing and end the cycle of crises, bailouts and lost homes.

I pledge: to establish a predictable, sustainable operating and capital funding formula for all 58,500 homes now owned by Toronto Community Housing.

3. Make “affordable housing” truly affordable
Right now, we define “affordable housing” as anything at or below Toronto’s average market rent. But affordable for whom?  In Toronto, a $1,426/month two-bedroom apartment is deemed “affordable” by the City, yet it is out of reach for any household making less than $50,000 per year.

I pledge: to support a definition of “affordable housing” based on household income – not market rents – to reflect what Torontonians can actually afford.

4. Ensure new residential development includes everyone
The typical cost of a new Toronto condo last June was $774,554 – up 23.5% since June, 2017. So where are the 80% of households who make less than $150,000 per year—that’s 80% of Toronto’s total population–supposed to live? It’s time to make sure that wherever there is new development, permanently affordable housing is always part of the mix.

I pledge: to support inclusionary zoning policies that ensure permanently affordable rental housing – including deeply affordable homes – is part of every new development.

5. Mobilize Toronto’s resources to build more affordable housing
We can’t just wait for the private sector. Toronto needs to go “all in” – mobilizing its own land, money, borrowing capacity, planning and regulatory tools – to increase the affordable housing supply.

I pledge:

  • to make the creation of permanently affordable housing part of the core mandate of CreateTO
  • to fast-track planning and permit approvals and use Toronto’s zoning powers to expand Toronto’s affordable and supportive housing stock
  • to bring an “affordable housing lens” to all city initiatives, so that whenever Toronto plans a transit station, or a daycare, or a library, it asks, “How can we use this opportunity to create some affordable housing?”

Mayoral and Councillor candidates: to confirm your commitment to the affordable housing pledge, please email TOHousingPledge@gmail.com no later than October 10, 2018.

Download the pledge: 2018_Toronto_Election_pledge

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