This is a very personal project. I have lived in Toronto Community Housing for the last thirty years. I have been able to take advantage of many opportunities in large part because I didn't have to flip a coin between paying the rent and putting food on the table. I am grateful for this experience. In all likelihood that's not exactly a claim that many people living in Toronto Community Housing would make.
Since I have moved into subsidized housing I have raised my two children, They are now grown and raising my grandchildren outside of TCH. When I arrived I had a single grade nine credit. Now I have a B.A from the University of Toronto and a certificate in Human RIghts from OISE. As you can tell from this website I have explored my creative potential through poetry, and photography. In addition, I have been involved in some advocacy work around poverty, homelessness, and food security,
By no means have I been slacking on my advocacy closer to home. It took a while to introduce the inner advocate to my neighbors. Now they know. I made a successful bid at the Participatory Budget Meeting a few years ago. That resulted in my community receiving $200,000 (final cost). That is definitely equal to the lions share of an annual budget of $260,000 to be split between at least ten communities. Then the year before last I took the lead on writing a grant proposal (and almost lost my mind in the process) to the Partnerships Opportunities Legacy Fund which resulted in a further $450,000 for my community. That amount was the highest granted in our area - despite not meeting the "partnership" requirement..
Why am I bothering to tell you this? When an opportunity came up to apply to the Tenants First Advisory Panel I jumped at the chance. The requirements were:
From the discussion at the Information Session at City Hall the Mayor now wants TCH tenant input on the implementation of the five "transformative ideas" listed in the Transformative Change for TCHC report. As someone with an appreciation of the opportunities a Toronto Community Housing tenant can take advantage of, someone with an ability to translate issues into words or images that people understand, and a proven ability to attract funding for my TCH community I thought I would be a shoe in.
Well ... not so much.
Pride goeth before the fall. At least I have something to fall back on. As part of the application process I submitted comments related to the "transformative ideas" outlined in the Mayor's Task Force's "Transformative Changes for TCHC" report. It will provide an excellent baseline for this document.
Welcome to Toronto Community Housing. Hope lives here.