The Mayor's Task Force on Toronto Community Housing released its final report with 29 recommendations to address ongoing social and financial pressures at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). The report, called Transformative Change for TCHC: A Report from the Mayor's Task Force on Toronto Community Housing, is available on the web page at www.toronto.ca/tch-taskforce.These recommendations focus on improving the living conditions of TCHC residents while restructuring the organization to make it financially sustainable and increasing the amount of affordable housing in Toronto.The proposed changes include turning TCHC into a non-profit housing corporation with better buildings, aggressive new development projects and a customer service culture that puts residents’ safety and comfort first. The projects would protect the current number of housing subsidies available to Toronto residents.Mayor Tory appointed the independent, six-person Housing Task Force in January 2015. Over the past year, it has undertaken extensive consultations with more than 1,000 tenants and community members and almost 100 stakeholder groups, as well as City officials, provincial and federal governments, and housing experts from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.To best serve its residents, the Task Force’s recommendations include:
- Creating a new, community-based non-profit housing corporation called NewHome to operate TCHC buildings at arm's length from the City and eventually assume the buildings' ownership.
- TCHC continuing as a development organization with a mandate to rehabilitate, redevelop and demolish current TCHC properties.
- The City and TCHC renegotiating TCHC's rent-geared-to-income targets to create mixed-use communities with a target of 70 per cent rent-geared-to-income and 30 per cent market rents.
- TCHC moving to a decentralized organizational structure that would be more responsive to tenant needs at a local level.
- Taking a new and more effective approach to dealing with vulnerable tenants by introducing on-site hubs made up of partner agencies to provide support services to those with mental health and addiction problems, as well as issues associated with aging.
The recommendations, which also include various measures to improve the safety and living conditions of TCH residents, would require the participation of all levels of government and significant funding commitments from the federal and provincial governments.Mayor Tory will bring the Task Force's final report to Executive Committee for consideration on January 28, 2016. He will recommend that:
- The report be immediately referred to the City Manager for assessment;
- The City Manager report to Executive Committee this spring with an overall approach for how to move forward with TCHC transformation;
- A second report be delivered by the fall outlining a detailed, long-term implementation plan for transformation.
The Mayor's Task Force also calls for the City of Toronto to conduct a review in five years of changes implemented as a result of the report.About the Task ForceThe Task Force reports directly to the Mayor and includes a tenant advocate as well as experts from the social housing, finance, real estate development and social policy fields.The members of the Task Force led by Senator Eggleton, who gave extensively of their time, talents and experience, include:
- Edmund Clark, former President and CEO of TD Bank Group
- Blake Hutcheson, President and CEO of Oxford Properties Group
- Janet Mason, Professor and Visiting Fellow at the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto
- Muna Mohammed, TCHC tenant representative, and
- Brian F.C. Smith, expert in non-profit organization management and former President and CEO of Woodgreen Community Services.
The Task Force's interim report at http://bit.ly/1Mam58H, which was released in July 2015, focused on immediate steps that could be taken to improve the lives of tenants. TCHC (http://www.torontohousing.ca/) has responded with several reports, made improvements on operational items and asked for supplementary funding in 2016 to address the costs associated with certain recommended operational improvements.