A final report reviewing the inner workings of Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) has recommended the decentralization of the public housing agency and turning it into a non-profit organization to better managed residents needs.
“TCHC is in charge of too many buildings, spread over too large an area and which house too many people in need of various kinds of serious social support,” said Mayor John Tory during a press conference at City Hall following the report’s release on Tuesday.
“These realities are beyond the capacity of the current organization to address effectively. We need a leaner more efficient social housing program that can more directly manage these buildings.”
The report suggests the new non-profit approach would also allow it to increase borrowing capacity by being removed from the city’s balance sheet.
“Why is it that we have about 240 non-profit housing providers in Toronto regulated effectively by the city as the service manager, but rarely if ever the subject of the kind of controversy that we hear about with respect to TCH?” Tory said.
Tory appointed a six-person task force led by Senator Art Eggleton last year to review operations at TCHC and to provide recommendations to improve the agency.
VIDEO: TCHC’s present funding model ‘unsustainable’ says Eggleton
Tory said part of the changes would include having managers move their offices closer to TCHC buildings.
“When you’re in the head office and not in the field with the people, with the tenants, you’re not going to be able to do as well,” the Mayor told Global News.
Another issue that will be addressed is the need for more housing units in upstart neighbourhoods by putting a stronger focus on creating mixed-income communities.
“One of the really important things is that we have mixed communities so that we don’t concentrate people with lower incomes and struggles in their lives altogether in one place,” said Tory.
“You can do that by having a mixed use housing which is for all income levels and I think it will be a matter of using some of the proceeds from market based housing to help pay for housing need for people who are struggling.”
Tory believes the majority of the recommendations can be implemented but noted the need for all levels of government to step in to make that happen.
“Property taxpayers cannot, I repeat cannot, bear the burden of repairing and moving forward and increasing supply of housing in the city the size and scope of Toronto given the nature of this problem on their own,” Tory said.
VIDEO: Eggleton says TCHC lacking resources ‘to serve its residents better’
An interim report issued last summer promised short and long-term goals that would benefit those living in community housing.
The task force was given the responsibility to examine TCHC’s operations with regards to partnership and innovation, capital revitalization and new development and governance.
Tory said the report, which includes 29 different recommendations, will be presented to the city’s executive committee for review this week and brought to full council as soon as possible.
“Help is on the way. I am confident of that,” the mayor said.
TCHC is the largest social housing provider in Canada serving 125,000 people with 58,500 units in 2,300 buildings across the city.