The City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Committee unanimously backed the proposed 10-year housing plan called Housing Opportunities Toronto at its meeting earlier today. The committee heard from a number of witnesses, including Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (a former Mayor of Toronto); Michael Shapcott, Director, Affordable Housing and Social Innovation at the Wellesley Institute, and other housing and community leaders. The plan, which was amended by the committee after hearing concerns from the Wellesley Institute and others about some details, including the targets, goes to the full City Council for a vote in early July. Minutes of the committee meeting will be posted here once they are available.
Toronto’s housing plan includes an innovative Housing Charter, which guarantees Torontonians the right to healthy and affordable homes. However, the Wellesley Institute and others argued that the low targets for new affordable rental homes and supportive housing (among other housing initiatives) would mean that Torontonians would also be guaranteed a very long waiting period before they moved into their new home. Councillor Howard Moscoe proposed an amendment to review the city’s targets, along with the targets set out in other recent comprehensive housing plans, such as the Wellesley Institute’s Blueprint to End Homelessness in Toronto from 2006. Councillor Adam Vaughan gave an eloquent speech on the need to create inclusive communities, and the committee also voted to strengthen the inclusionary housing provisions in the draft plan. Inclusionary housing is a planning practice used by hundreds of U.S. cities that requires developers to include a certain percentage of truly affordable homes in every new development. A backgrounder from the Wellesley Institute on the plan is posted here .