Housing For All

Everyone has a right to decent housing. We in Parkdale-High Park lead the way. We preserved and legalized hundreds of affordable dwelling rooms, making our neighbours safer and more secure in their homes. We created a fund to buy low-rent private housing so developers don't buy the land and evict our neighbours. This local project has been so successful that the City has copied this program across Toronto. We are building the Parkdale Hub, which will create 173 new housing units and increase social services for the Parkdale community. There are many more examples including Edmond's Place, modular housing in south Parkdale, new affordable and supportive homes at 11 Brock, and so much more.

I'm proud of our work, but there is much more to do.

Deeply affordable homes are being lost as building owners evict tenants and put them on the open market. The Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA) protects affordable units by bringing them into public ownership and partnering with non-profit and co-operative housing operators. MURA  supports the acquisition of private market rental housing by non-profit housing organizations, including co-operative housing providers. 

What We’ve Done

The MURA program is built directly on the work of our community. It was initiated as the Rooming House Acquisition Pilot Project in 2018. Through expanding this “Made in Ward 4” solution to the City as a whole, communities across Toronto can now protect their affordable housing units. After a heavy push from our Ward 4 community, the 2022 City budget provided $20 million to start this expansion. 

Our Work Ahead

While I successfully lobbied Council to secure a reserve fund of a minimum $10 million annually for the program, we must protect this investment. I will continue to lead this work to build and expand upon the program to ensure rooming houses and affordable units are protected.

The Parkdale Hub is a catalyst for how we can work better together to improve our communities. Through working across City departments and with community groups and stakeholders, we are creating a mixed-use housing and community services complex proposal to improve both housing and services available to the residents of Parkdale. 

What We’ve Done

  • Created a new model for integrated City projects, bringing diverse groups together to solve for a common goal
  • Acquired adjacent lands to increase the number of housing units to 173, with 50% being affordable housing. 
  • Secured a temporary location for the Parkdale Library to ensure it remains open throughout construction

Our Work Ahead

  • Continue to bring together all City departments and outside organizations to ensure work is completed on time and with community support
  • Replicate the success of this project here in Parkdale-High Park and throughout Toronto. Affordable housing and stronger community services are needed across our city, and this "Made in Parkdale-High Park" solution is an important step to building a better city.

Inclusionary zoning is a land use planning tool that would enable the City to require new residential developments to include affordable housing units. Currently, the Province of Ontario only allows the City of Toronto to use inclusionary zoning in specific circumstances, such as buildings in “Major Transit Station Areas”. This does not meet the needs of our city, or the housing crisis.

We have lots of work to do on planning—including creating new tools to build affordable housing, encouraging "missing-middle" housing, and legalizing rooming houses across the city. All of this should be guided by improved consultation processes that are responsive to the community. 

The Work Ahead

  • There will be a review of the current inclusionary zoning implementation framework after one year to assess its efficacy and areas for improvement. I will collaborate across City divisions to strengthen the City’s policy so that it covers every allowable use case under provincial law.
  • I will continue to advocate for the City to have more expanded ability to use inclusionary zoning, pressuring the Mayor and Council as a whole to push harder and farther than they have done in the past.
  • Studying the inclusion of affordable housing in every city-led development and expanding the Parkdale Hub model
  • Studying changes to the official plan and urban design guidelines that would help build "missing-middle" housing
  • Making multi-tenant homes (rooming houses) legal in every part of the city
  • Making sure that development is responsible through better consultation processes that allow everyone to participate 

No one should have to live outside, nor should we assault people without homes with massive police interventions. We must build a city where everyone has access to safe, affordable housing. The City of Toronto has a responsibility to support the needs of everyone in our city, especially our most vulnerable residents. Instead, I've fought to dramatically accelerate the creation of safe affordable housing. Together, we can make the City find real solutions.

I supported having a judicial inquiry into Encampment clearings. Although a majority of Councillors or the Mayor blocked it, we still need more accountability for how we treat people who have lost their homes. The housing crisis will only be solved by creating affordable housing, not punishing those without. 

Our community suffered a great loss this year when we discovered the Toronto Community Housing project at Swansea Mews had been built with unsafe materials.

Structural Engineers with Toronto Community Housing are working to rebuild the Mews. I've been in constant contact with tenants, City staff, and many concerned neighbours to ensure that we rebuild to the highest standards and support Mews residents as the work moves forward. Staying engaged at every step must be a priority for the local government—it will certainly be my priority.

Toronto and Canada need to learn from the many European cities where social housing is high quality and provides good homes to people from all walks of life. In some cities fully half the population live in some form of very high quality social housing. In Canada we tend to treat Co-ops, and public housing as a last resort. I am working and will continue to work to make socially owned housing, the housing of choice.

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