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Housing Working Group has re-established the value of helping house the people of Toronto

This letter to was delivered as a deputation by CUPE Local 79 President Tim Maguire to the City’s Executive Committee. In it, Maguire praises the goals of the Special Housing Working Group, while cautioning against proposals to sell off standalone housing units.

RE: Item EX23.4
Putting People First, Transforming Toronto Community Housing –Special Housing Working Group’s Report
Sale of Select Toronto Community Housing Stand-Alone Properties

Dear Mayor Rob Ford, Chair, and Members of the Executive Committee:

‘Putting People First’ sounds like the best possible foundation for social housing policies for the City, and all the people who live here and call Toronto home.

The original proposal to sell off over 600 homes would have devastated hundreds of family units and neighbourhoods. These ‘Stand Alone’ units, as they are being called, are a vital part of Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s (TCHC) commitment to city building and growth of healthy, sustainable communities across Toronto. Selling off community housing would be a step backwards when all the studies, consultations and evidence have proved that mixed-income communities benefit everyone. These are not just buildings or real estate assets to be sold – these are homes.

By ‘Putting People First’ the Special Housing Working Group has re-established the value of helping house the people of Toronto, not just real estate values. Housing is a basic human need. Everyone deserves to live in dignity.

CUPE Local 79 represents over 350 full-time, part-time and seasonal staff working at TCHC. Our members are front-line staff in the provision of affordable housing. In the current economy, the jobs that CUPE Local 79 members do, and the services they provide, are more critical than ever. Some of our most vulnerable citizens and families are struggling with shrinking resources, inadequate pensions, scant employment insurance benefits and limited social assistance. As the thousands of people on the wait list for housing in Toronto will attest – this City desperately needs more affordable housing, not less.

The Special Housing Working Group is to be commended for the thoroughness of the consultation process and providing solid alternatives for the financing of repairs and the maintenance of the City’s housing stock.

CUPE Local 79 would like to thank the Working Group for this report and for its conclusion that there are “faster, better and more socially responsive ways” to fund the backlog of repairs at TCHC that allows “the majority of tenants to remain in their homes.”

Yours truly,

Tim Maguire
President

 

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