TCHC tenants are concerned about the current state of social housing in Toronto and about what the future holds once a new board is elected. On June 9, the acting TCHC managing director Case Ootes, recommended the sale of 900 TCHC homes, which he proposed would help fund the long overdue and desperately needed capital repairs to TCHC buildings in the city.
Tenants for Social Housing issued a strong statement following Ootes' announcement, decrying the sell-off of public housing in order to solve the city's budget problems. They say that tenants are being used as a scapegoat for the city's budget crises. Susan Gapka, a tenant activist and member of Tenants for Social Housing, explains "This is not the way to restore public confidence in TCHC. This does not respect tenants. Selling off public housing to resolve the millions of dollars in capital repairs depletes our housing stock and displaces tenants in need. The message is that tenants do not matter anymore."
Even though the waiting time to get social housing in Toronto is between 5 and 10 years, Ootes has used the fact that these buildings were sitting empty is being used as a justification for their sale. Mayor Ford appointed Ootes with the aim of restoring public confidence in social housing. Tenants for Social Housing claim that the call to sell of 900 units disrespects tenants by threatening to fracture their communities.
The group worries that the new Board of Directors, who will be elected by City Council, will follow through with Ootes' recommendations. They have said they will be approaching to City Councillors to stop the sale of social housing and Provincial Parties to ensure that it is protected by provincial legislation.
For more information:
Susan Gapka; 647 882 2776; firstname.lastname@example.org