Toronto’s 2013 municipal budget sets housing and homelessness spending at $665 million – down $128 million from 2012 and an even bigger cut from 2011’s municipal approved budget of $923 million. While the facts about the specific spending decreases are clear, the analysis around the 2013 budget for Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration paints a much more confusing picture. The Wellesley Institute’s recent housing and homelessness municipal budget backgrounder provides some overall information. Here are more details:
The 2013 budget includes a cut from $49 million last year to $24 million this year for new affordable housing. Coming at a time when the city’s affordable housing wait lists set a new record every month, a 50% cut in funding for new homes is bad news, indeed. Not surprisingly, the number of new affordable homes to be funded in 2013 is sharply reduced from 2012.
The 2013 budget includes some good news for Toronto Community Housing Corporation – the city’s non-profit housing agency. A property tax adjustment of $55.6 million means that TCHC will no longer have to pay a whopping big property tax bill to the city, and the city will no longer have to pay a large grant back to TCHC to cover the tax bill. In budget terms, it’s a ‘wash’, but for TCHC it’s a sensible move.
The single biggest drop in funding is being delivered by the federal and provincial governments. Overall, federal and provincial funding is dropping from $518.5 million to $447 million – or a cut of almost $72 million. Much of that is due to short-term programs expiring. For instance, the federal government’s social housing repair program has been cut by $35 million. Federal official say that the program was only intended to be short-term and that it has run its course. The investment has been used to fund necessary repairs to social housing, but a huge unfunded social housing repair bill remains both at TCHC and among other social housing providers.