An all-day ‘ideas forum’ sponsored by the City of Toronto on July 3 will take a detailed look at plans for the sell-off of more than 600 of Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s affordable homes. A new research paper by Wellesley Institute analyst Steve Barnes and a discussion paper from Wellesley Institute Director of Housing and Innovation Michael Shapcott will be presented at the forum.
The research paper includes a selected survey of North American municipalities, with a more detailed examination of New York City and Chicago. Both cities have added to their ‘scattered site’ housing (single family or low-rise social housing) in recent years at the same time that TCHC is proposing to sell its entire stand-alone portfolio into the private market. The Wellesley Institute paper notes that there are strong health, social and equity reasons for maintaining a stand-alone portfolio. In both New York City and Chicago, the scattered site units are managed by community-based non-profits.
The discussion paper sets the Toronto context, starting with an all-time record of 85,088 households on the city’s affordable housing wait list. The paper notes that the unfunded capital repair shortfall of TCHC is mostly due to downloading of social housing from the federal and provincial governments without adequate capital reserves – and cites the Drummond Commission, which recommended that the Ontario government negotiate a new long-term affordable housing agreement with the federal government including stable funding. The paper also sets out financing options both to properly maintain the existing affordable housing and also to fund new affordable homes.