October 13, 2015 7:07 pm
Updated: October 13, 2015 7:14 pm

Who will help bring Toronto subsidized housing units out of critical condition?

WATCH: One of the big election issues in Toronto is the sorry state of public housing. There's a massive backlog of repairs and hundreds of homes are falling apart or have been boarded up. And as Jennifer Tryon reports, there are 90,000 people on the waiting list for a place to live.


TORONTO — Toronto Community Housing is at risk of boarding up 7,500 subsidized units and evicting thousands of families.

Fifteen per cent of Toronto’s 60,000 social housing units are in critical condition.

“Up until the last couple of years, all we’ve been doing is putting fires out and really triaging the most urgent, urgent, urgent needs,” said Greg Spearn, president and CEO of Toronto Community Housing.

That’s leaving capital repairs to grow exponentially.

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Toronto Community Housing has $2.5 billion in repairs it can’t afford to fix. In 2013, city council approved a 10-year plan and asked the provincial and federal governments to each contribute one-third of the capital repair costs.

Neither have done so.

“The conclusion is… we are going to lose about 7,500 units in the next eight years. And that’s in the face of 90,000 families on the wait list,” said Spearn.

Kathleen Wynne is waiting to for the federal commitment before offering up provincial funding.

“We need the federal government to work with us. The federal government has always been involved in social housing and has always been part of the equation and we need that renewed commitment from a new federal government,” Wynne said.

In a statement from the party, the NDP said it “will provide Toronto with the funding needed for the capital repairs, allowing Toronto to decide its priorities.” Toronto Mayor John Tory said the Liberal party may allot some of its planned infrastructure funding to be used for housing.

The Conservatives are promising more support for affordable housing, but that doesn’t include subsidized social housing like Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). “One of the biggest challenges I inherited when I became mayor was that of trying to convince the other governments, the one at Queen’s Park and the one in Ottawa to contribute to the repairs of TCHC.”

Meantime, Spearn says his organization will continue to limp along using the only one-third of the funding needed to make the critical repairs.

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