TCHC Sell-Off Worsens Social Housing Wait List

by Diamond Wisdom

As of October 31, 2011, Housing Connections (a subsidiary of Toronto Community Housing Corporation) had its waiting list at a record of 150,858 names .

Cartoon from When the one-man TCHC Board of Case Ootes announced in April 2011 the sale of 22 TCHC homes, the great sell-off of public housing was formally commenced. When Oates left his position, he recommended selling an additional 900 units. On October 21, 2011, Rob Ford’s newly appointed TCHC board members voted on the sale of an additional 706 single-family homes. Most of these homes can house large families that can’t be accommodated in apartments, as suggested as a cost saving measure.

Despite hearing deputations against the sale of homes, only the two tenant-appointed board members voted for a more detailed report from staff before they could on vote on a policy that would impact so many families.

Residents in the process of the sell-off have flagged two serious concerns. First, there is a repeated and complete lack of communication from TCHC to the tenants who would be impacted by the home sales. One of the few groups to inform residents about the upcoming sell-off was the organization ‘Tenants for Social Housing: We’re Not for $ale,’ in addition to BASICS Community News Service and Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

The second major concern raised is the chronic underfunding, which is at the root of repair backlogs. Since the sale of homes was justified as necessary to pay for repair backlogs, it is essential to note that the sales would only cover a fraction of what is needed. The aging housing stock will add an additional $100 million in yearly repair costs, which begs the question: How many more TCHC units will they have to sell to save the rest of the TCHC units? Is this a case of ‘kill the patient to cure the disease?’

TCHC tenants are priced out of the private rental and homeownership markets due to their limited income levels. They are taxpayers too and they also demand respect. Join a community organization near you fighting for affordable housing and better living conditions.

Diamond Wisdom is a TCHC tenant