Hundreds Rally in Support of Affordable Housing in Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, May 1, 2015 – On Tuesday, April 28th, hundreds of the city’s affordable housing residents and advocates held a rally at Toronto City Hall calling for more investments in affordable housing from the province and federal government. The Close the Housing Gap Rally was co-organized by the City of Toronto, the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHFC), the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT) and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC).
The rally was moderated by Councillor Anna Bailao and included a number of speeches, including Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell, CHFT Executive Director Tom Clement, CHFC Ontario Region Council President Nicole Waldron and residents of the city’s co‑ops and TCHC. The speeches highlighted the need for continued provincial and federal funding for affordable housing, and for the federal government specifically to cancel a planned withdrawal of housing subsidies for vulnerable co‑op members.
Nearly half of Ontario’s 550 housing co‑ops receive funding from the federal government to provide rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidies to low-income households through their operating agreements. The agreements under which this funding was provided have already begun to expire and there is no commitment yet to replace this support. Without government intervention, over the next 5 years almost 900 households in Toronto could lose the RGI subsidies they depend on to pay their rent, a reduction of approximately $4.5 million over that 5 year period. Toronto already has over 90,000 households on its social housing waitlist.
At the rally Deputy Mayor McConnell, who is also responsible for crafting the city’s anti-poverty strategy, noted that in the interim the city would “put in place an emergency assistance initiative to protect people from losing their homes because of expiring federal operating agreements.”
According to Tom Clement, the Executive Director of the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto “Toronto co‑ops looks forward to working with the City on this interim measure, because without the governments’ assistance, seniors, families, and the disabled may find themselves unable to afford their rent meaning they will be forced to go on the social housing waiting list and likely not be housed in this decade. That said, we need a long-term solution to this problem.”
“Keeping people in their communities by maintaining rent supplements is one of the most affordable and effective ways to fight the growth of poverty in Ontario” said Harvey Cooper, Managing Director for the Ontario Region of the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada. “We hope that the provincial and federal governments will come to the table to find a more permanent solution.”
For more information:
Tom Clement, Executive Director, Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto
416-465-8688 ext. 202 or 416-801-4207 (cell)
Harvey Cooper, Managing Director, Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada, Ontario Region
1-800-268-2537 ext. 237 or 416-809-5048 (cell)