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TABLE OF CONTENTS

REPORTS OF THE STANDING COMMITTEES

AND OTHER COMMITTEES

As Considered by

The Council of the City of Toronto

on October 28, 29 and 30, 1998

COMMUNITY AND NEIGHBOURHOOD SERVICES COMMITTEE

REPORT No. 9

1The Public Housing Inquiry



City of Toronto

REPORT No. 9

OF THE COMMUNITY AND NEIGHBOURHOOD SERVICES COMMITTEE

(from its meeting on September 10, 1998,

submitted by Councillor Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, Chair)

As Considered by

The Council of the City of Toronto

on October 28, 29 and 30, 1998

1

The Public Housing Inquiry

(City Council on October 28, 29 and 30, 1998, adopted this Clause, without amendment.)

(City Council on October 1 and 2, 1998, deferred consideration of this Clause to the next regular meeting of City Council scheduled to be held on October 28, 1998.)

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(Clause No. 3 of Report No. 8 of The Community and Neighbourhood Services Committee)

The Community and Neighbourhood Services Committee recommends the adoption of the following report (August 31, 1998) from the Commissioner of Community and Neighbourhood Services:

Purpose:

The Community and Neighbourhood Services Committee on July 16, 1998, had before it a report from Councillor Jack Layton and Ms. Alison Kemper, Co-Chairs, Advisory Committee on Homeless and Socially Isolated Persons, urging Council to endorse a series of recommendations contained in The Public Housing Inquiry Final Report and indicating that the Advisory Committee supports the directions of the Public Housing Inquiry. The report was referred to the Commissioner of Community and Neighbourhood Services for a report thereon to the Community and Neighbourhood Services Committee and to the Advisory Committee. This report has been prepared in response to that request.

Financial Implications:

No financial implications have been identified.

Recommendations:

It is recommended that Council:

(1)receive the report of The Public Housing Inquiry;

(2)inform the members of The Public Housing Inquiry of the City's intention to consult with social housing tenants and providers in developing its capacity to administer the social housing programs; and

(3)request that the Commissioner of Community and Neighbourhood Services report back on plans for the consultations.

Council Reference/Background:

Background:

A Public Housing Inquiry was held in Toronto on Saturday, March 28, 1998. The mandate of the Panel of Inquiry was to receive deputations from tenants, tenant associations and other interested parties concerning the future of social housing in Ontario, and to produce a set of recommendations for reform of social housing which reflect the voices heard at the Inquiry. Over 30 oral and written deputations, from deputants from across the Province, were received by eight panel members. Information on the membership of the Inquiry Panel and a list of deputants is included an as appendix to this report.

The Inquiry was convened to give tenants of social housing a voice in social housing reform. This was considered crucial as tenants had not been included in the membership of the Social Housing Committee or any of its work groups.

Summary of Public Housing Inquiry Recommendations:

Three major themes emerged from the day of hearings:

-Ontario is in the midst of a housing crisis, with a lack of affordable housing;

-the senior levels of government must continue to pay for social housing and support the development of new housing; and

-social housing tenants, who pay a large portion of the costs of operating social housing through their rents, must be involved in making decisions which will affect their communities, particularly the social hosing reform process.

Based on the feedback received, the Panel made recommendations in the following areas:

-mandate of social housing;

-role of governments in social housing;

-keeping housing affordable, the rent-geared to income (RGI) subsidy system;

-tenants rights; and

-privatization of management in social housing.

Discussion:

The Inquiry report and recommendations propose that social housing be viewed as an important component of a continuum of social and community services, with a unique role that goes beyond that of the private sector. They also emphasize the importance of tenants' rights is social housing, as well as tenant involvement in decision making on issues that affect their homes and communities. Particular reference is made to tenant participation in the social housing reform process which is currently underway. In addition, recommendations are made with respect to keeping public housing in the public domain, ensuring its on-going affordability, making sure it is well maintained and preserving the current level of supply. Sale of scattered units owned by the Ontario Housing Corporation is opposed.

The Inquiry also opposes the devolution of financial responsibility for social housing to the property tax base and advocates for renewed federal and provincial investment in building affordable housing.

Many of the positions taken in the report and recommendations are ones which have been supported by the City, its housing companies or the former municipalities over the years. Tenants have served as members of the Boards of the municipal housing companies and a tenant-driven process is currently in place to define a tenant participation strategy for the amalgamated housing company. The City has supported initiatives to prevent homelessness and minimize evictions and has certainly taken strong views on the need for on-going federal and provincial support in housing.

In one area, the privatization of property management for social housing, the City has not yet come to any clear conclusions. The City has opposed the privatization of property management proposed by the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority (MTHA) but, to date, this opposition has been on the basis of lack of consultation with the City, rather than on the merits of the decision. Nevertheless, the recommendations with respect to evaluating all the options, full tenant consultation and ensuring the quality and safety of the housing environment can be supported.

As the City begins to define its role as the administrator of social housing, the issues and recommendations contained in the report of The Public Housing Inquiry will provide useful background information. In addition, meaningful tenant participation will be an important component of the City's efforts to prepare itself to administer the social housing within its jurisdiction.

Contact Name:

Joanne Campbell

Tel: 392-7885/Fax: 392-0548

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Mr. Cliff Martin and Mr. Vance Latchford, on behalf of The Public Housing Fightback Campaign, appeared before the Community and Neighbourhood Services Committee in connection with the foregoing matter; and submitted a copy of the document, entitled "The Public Housing Inquiry, Province-Wide Consultation on the Future of Public Housing - Final Report & Recommendations" dated April 2, 1998.

(A copy of the appendix referred to in the foregoing report was forwarded to all Members of Council with the agenda of the Community and Neighbourhood Services Committee for its meeting on September 10, 1998, and a copy thereof is on file in the office of the City Clerk.)

Respectfully submitted,

CHRIS KORWIN-KUCZYNSKI,

Chair

Toronto, September 10, 1998

(Report No. 9 of The Community and Neighbourhood Services Committee was adopted, without amendment, by City Council on October 28, 29 and 30, 1998.)

 

   
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