Every Monday, November to April, Beach United Church provides a warm place to sleep for 25 homeless people, adding to the more than 7400 shelter beds in Toronto.

The City and non-profit housing organizations, like Fred Victor who we support, provide subsidized housing for people that can’t afford market rents. The subsidized housing waiting list has 104,000 households; 3,000 are housed each year.

Rental housing is getting more expensive and many of our family and friends can’t find decent affordable housing.

In December, Council approved a 10-year Housing Plan, including 40,000 new “affordable” rental homes. I say “affordable” with quotation marks because not all 40,000 homes will be affordable to most households and few will address the needs of the 104,000 households that need deep subsidies.

City Council’s Housing Advocate, Ana Bailao, noted recently that there are more construction cranes in Toronto than almost any North American City. We all see the construction boom; mostly “luxury” condominiums that our friends and family can’t afford.

Toronto, like other Cities, has the authority to require a minimum percentage of affordable housing in new developments.  City staff have been consulting on how to implement Inclusionary Zoning and will make recommendations to Council’s Planning & Housing Committee in March.

Despite Mayor Tory’s commitment to address Toronto’s housing crisis, the recommendations may contribute little. The affordability requirement could be limited to only some developments. The proportion of affordable units could be only 10 or 20%.  The definition of “affordable” may be laughably high (recently announced “affordable” housing at the Honest Ed site includes 1 bedroom apartments at $2,000).  And the units may be required to stay “affordable” for as little as 10 years.

We can do better. Toronto developers (including Loblaws, developing at Woodbine and Danforth) will get very rich building new condos. They can afford to include some affordable housing for our friends and families.

If you agree, tell your Councillor and Mayor Tory.  (councillor_bradford@toronto.ca and mayor_tory@toronto.ca  or councillor _ last name @ Toronto.ca )

If you want to know more, let me know.

Paul Dowling

pdowling@rogers.com

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