Tory renews calls to ban repeat criminals from reapplying for community housing
‘We have the ability to send a strong message to criminals,’ mayor writes
Mayor John Tory has renewed calls for the province to change laws to help Toronto Community Housing ban tenants who were previously evicted for "serious criminal activity."
In April 2017, city council voted unanimously to support the mayor's motion calling on the province to change the Housing Services Act to allow TCH to block tenants it has kicked out.
Tory said Sunday in an open letter to Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark that much to his "disappointment" the previous Liberal government didn't act on the earlier request and that he has decided to make it again.
"I believe our two governments share a determination to ensure the safety of all our residents, especially seniors and families who live in TCHC," Tory wrote.
"My goal in requesting amendments to existing legislation is to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable residents and to ensure that they are properly served in Toronto Community Housing."
Tory claimed in his letter that a tenant who was previously evicted for serious behavioural misconduct, like drug dealing or domestic violence, is immediately able to reapply for housing from TCH.
"I believe the City and the province have a duty to do everything possible to stop the misconduct of a small group of people who are disrupting the lives of law-abiding Toronto Community Housing residents," Tory added.
"We have the ability to send a strong message to criminals that they are not welcome in TCHC and we will not tolerate them threatening the peace and wellbeing of our Communities."
Safety and security, the number one issue for TCH residents
The mayor said safety and security was the number one issue for TCH residents in all the consultations held by Senator Art Eggleton's Task Force to review the city's community housing.
"I think there should at least be discretion for Toronto Community Housing to say to those people, if you've committed a criminal act that caused your eviction, you're not coming back in," Tory told reporters on Sunday.
Former housing minister Chris Ballard said in 2017 that he was concerned with the city's calls for a ban because it could lead to more people going homeless.
"Eviction, for these people, really means nowhere for these folks to go," Ballard said, noting the province at the time was trying its best to end homelessness.
He added there was already a fast-track system that TCH could use to evict tenants involved in criminal activity and suggested those rules should suffice.
With files from John Rieti