Tory, Bailao praise funds for affordable housing as 'important step' for municipalities
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:42PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:59PM EDT
More than $11 billion in federal funds for affordable housing over the next decade could be a boon to Toronto, where hundreds of aging TCHC units are scheduled to be boarded up amid a $1.73 billion capital repair backlog.
The $11.2 billion investment, which is part of the Liberal government’s previously announced social infrastructure fund, was included in the budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau on Wednesday.
About $5 billion of the funding will go towards creating a National Housing Fund to address critical housing issues and provide targeted support for Indigenous Canadians living off-reserve. Meanwhile, about $3.2 billion will go towards the construction of new affordable housing and renovations to existing affordable housing units while another $2.1 billion is set aside to help fight homelessness.
Mayor John Tory praised the move in a news release Wednesday evening, thanking Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “for recognizing the need to invest in Toronto.”
“Many of the funding commitments laid out today will help City Council build a stronger and fairer Toronto,” Tory said in the release.
It remains unclear how much of the affordable housing funding Toronto could be in line to receive but the city’s housing advocate told reporters on Wednesday that the announcement is a “very important step” for municipalities across the country.
“It is great to see that what municipalities from coast to coast in this country have been advocating for is coming forward, we are going to have a national housing strategy that is funded,” Coun. Ana Bailão said.
By the end of 2017, the city will have spent $870 million on repairing crumbling TCHC units, which represents a third of the cost of a 10-year plan to address a $2.6 billion repair backlog.
There is, however, no funding to continue the initiative past this year as neither the federal government or provincial government have stepped forward with funding at this point.
Earlier this year, TCHC President Greg Spearn warned that the equivalent of one unit will have to be closed per day in 2018 without further funding for repairs.
More than 90,000 households are currently on a centralized waiting list for affordable housing in Toronto.
Rounding out his statement, Tory called on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government to follow suit when the provincial budget is tabled.
“Even greater fairness and effectiveness will be achieved if the Government of Ontario contributes to the amounts announced today,” Tory said. “A true partnership involving all governments will be required to address the critical issues of housing and transit.”