A Tenant's Manifesto on the Final Report of the Mayor's Task Force on TCH(C) (Part Two)
The second "transformative" idea was to "[c]reate mixed-income communities."
This is a great idea in theory. Personally, I don't believe that the 70-30% (R.G.I [Rent Geared to Income] to non R.G.I.) goes far enough. It should be more of an equal representation between R.G.I and non R.G.I. tenants. It should also be considered in the context of the larger national affordable housing strategy. This strategy should include the proposed development of abandoned properties and the ideas around setting aside a percentage of units constructed by private or non profit entities for R.G.I. tenants.
If Mayor Tory was serious about creating mixed income communities there needs to be a focus on "community building" not just the construction of new units. The Regent Park rejuvenation project is already 108 million in the hole and nowhere near completion. Part of the reason is because of "delays in timing of sales of market housing resulted in [SURPRISE!!!] delays in the social housing redevelopment." (Torontoist - Why Regent Park's Revitalization Needs !108 Million More to Keep Going - February 6th, 2017)
The main reason people are likely hesitating with making purchases of units in that area are quite clear. The Toronto Community Housing tenants that were in that area before have first pick at returning to the same size unit they had when they left ... Subsidized of course. So what guarantees do the purchasers have that the same criminal elements won't be returning? None. What powers do the new owners have when they do return? None.
You can flush billions of dollars down that hole. All you will be doing is making it more appealing for the criminal element to crawl back into.
There needs to be some significant structural/systemic change. I believe that we should start at the top. The TCH Board of Directors should have equal representation of TCH tenants, citizen members (that could include property owners), and city councilor members.
Currently, the board consists of twelve members only two of whom are tenants. So, technically, that means that only two people on that board have lived experience. That's not even remotely empowering to the 164 000 Toronto Community Housing tenants. If, TCH tenants don't have any real say at the Board with only two members, how are the new owners going to feel with no say with no members on Board?
Unfortunately, equal representation at the Board level is not listed among the recommendations. Instead, Recommendation 4 of the TCH Task Force Final Report indicated that the "Corporate Board of Directors of TCHC/NewHome, should be reduced to 7-9 citizen members and should be more appropriately compensated for their commitment and adequately supported." Sounds a tad backwards to me,
Technically, there would have been no need to appoint TCH(C) tenants to become members of the Tenants First Advisory Panel if the Board of Directors had equal representation. It also would have had a much longer and more effective mandate. Based on information gathered online the Tenants First Advisory Panel is meeting for 7 - 10 times over the next year. Honestly, this is the Tenants Last Advisory Panel. They just wanna find out from us how best to stuff their ideas down our throats without us spewing it all back at them. Just sayin'.
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