With hundreds of Toronto Community Housing (TCH) units at risk of being shuttered by the end of 2017, the organization is calling on the city to commit $1.6 billion over the next decade for repairs to crumbling social housing buildings.
The revised repairs plan, approved by the TCH board Thursday, puts the city on the hook to close the budget gap. The proposed investment would prevent as many as 7,500 units from being torn down by 2022.
"The bottom line is while all levels of government should invest in affordable housing, the city should be there to protect those units from closing," said Coun. Joe Cressy, a member of the TCH board.
Under the new plan, Toronto is solely responsible for $160 million annually for the next 10 years.
An additional $810 million is expected from other levels of government to reach a total of $2.4 billion over the next decade, which will help prevent TCH residents from being relocated and many of its 364 buildings from being boarded up.
"In order for us to keep all our units open that means we need funds," said Cressy.
So far only $1 billion has been secured from the city, while the province and federal governments haven't invested exclusively in TCH.
"We still believe that all levels of government should invest in repairs to Toronto Community Housing, but we're asking the city that if the province and federal governments don't commit funds to TCH that they will still be there for us," Cressy told CBC Toronto after the vote.
With 1,000 units slated to close by the end of next year, TCH says it will spend some $300 million on repairs in 2018 and 2019. That spending will then increase by around 15 per cent through 2026.
The provincial government recently announced funding that could be used for affordable housing. Ontario will spend $657 million over five years to repair and retrofit social housing across the province. Toronto will receive more than half — up to $343 million during that period. This includes the $43 million committed last year.
In March, the federal government announced $11 billion for affordable housing over 11 years. It's not clear how much could be available to TCH and when.
The latest TCH budget, which includes the new repairs plan, still has to be approved by city council.