TCHC will need additional funding to continue repair program past 2015
Toronto Community Housing Corporation Interim President and CEO Greg Spearn speaks with reporters on Dec. 16, 2014.
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, December 16, 2014 5:07PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 16, 2014 5:15PM EST
The Toronto Community Housing Corp. will invest more than $175 million in repairing aging buildings in 2015, but the interim CEO of the agency is warning that the money could run dry in 2016 if the federal and provincial governments refuse to come to the table.
The repair money, which was included in the 2015 operating and capital budget approved by the TCHC board of directors on Tuesday afternoon, is part of a $2.6-billion, 10-year plan to repair hundreds of aging buildings that have fallen into a state of disrepair.
Now in its second year the plan relies on all three levels of government each contributing $860 million in funding. However, to date neither the province nor the feds have contributed a cent, hastening the speed at which the TCHC has burned through the city’s $860 million share.
“We have a longer term plan where if we are unable to secure the correct funding we will be able to work through a portion of 2016 but then we will have to cut back on our repair program significantly,” interim CEO Greg Spearn told reporters on Tuesday. “If we don’t get our support from the province and the federal government, within five years 4,000 of our units will be in a critical state of repair and we will have to start facing the prospect of more units being vacated and boarded up.”
Spearn said that 500 TCHC units are currently in a critical state of repair with 138 of those uninhabitable; however he noted that the money set aside in 2015 will allow the agency to avoid shutting down any additional units.
As for the need for future funding, Spearn said that he is “confident” that the provincial and federal governments will come to the table, noting that he has already met with federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver and provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin to discuss the file.
“At this point I am feeling that the logic is compelling,” he said. “The taxpayers of this city and the taxpayers of Canada spent billions building this portfolio in the first place. What we are asking for is a one-time investment of $50,000 a unit to fix our homes and that compares with a cost of $250,000 to $300,000 per unit if we have to shut them down and rebuild. It makes smart economic sense as well as being extremely socially responsible.”
Spearn said that the repairs to TCHC properties in 2015 will focus on “base building repairs,” which include exteriors, walls, roofs and elevators.
Residents will be able to track the repairs using an interactive map that will be posted to the TCHC website.
Remember for instant breaking news follow @cp24 on Twitter.