Community Infrastructure

New City Bylaw Falls Thousands of Units Short on Affordable Housing

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Opportunity Knocks: Toronto City Council's Chance to Create Tens of Thousands of Affordable Homes assesses the City’s opportunity to realize the full potential of its new Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) policy to help expand access to affordable housing. It finds that a well-designed IZ policy has the potential to produce tens of thousands of affordable homes and reduce racial, spatial, and social inequality in Toronto. The City’s draft IZ policy fails to maximize the potential of this important new tool, despite the urgent need for affordable housing. 

The report quantifies the amount of affordable rental housing that could be produced by implementing a strong, evidence-based IZ policy, and the much lower amount that would be produced by the City’s current proposed IZ policy. It also estimates the amount of affordable housing lost due to past delay. The analysis reveals that: 

  • an evidence-based IZ policy could create more than 3,000 affordable rental units every year in Toronto, while still leaving developers throughout the city a motivating profit margin of at least 15% and landowners with at least 10% above the current value of their land;  
  • the City’s proposed IZ policy would initially be producing 3.5 times fewer affordable rental units (2022 through 2024); 
  • even by 2030, the City’s proposed IZ policy would be producing just under two times fewer affordable rental units; 
  • approximately 30,862 affordable rental housing units could have been produced through IZ over the past decade (2011-2020) if not for provincial delays. 

New research reveals the racial, social, and geographic divides of Toronto’s housing crisis

Spaces and Places of Exclusion: Mapping Rental Housing Disparities for Toronto’s Racialized and Immigrant Communities is a first-of-its-kind study, mapping spatial exclusion by racialized and immigrant status in Toronto’s wards. Disaggregated race-based and other social data from the 2016 Census of Population are used to examine key indicators of rental housing inequality, including core housing need, lack of affordable housing, unsuitable or overcrowded housing, and housing in need of major repair.

Presented through over 50 new maps and figures, our analysis reveals

  • the ways in which racialized individuals, specific racialized population groups, newcomers, and refugees are disproportionately affected by the housing crisis in Toronto;
  • identifies the intersecting social, racial, and spatial dimensions of Toronto’s housing crisis; and
  • confirms Toronto’s position as a major site of Canada’s housing crisis and highlights the precarious housing circumstances of many renters.

More than 1,400 Torontonians Tell City Council What They Want to See in Our City’s Pandemic Recovery

More than 1,400 Torontonians whose voices are not usually heard at City Hall took part in consultations to tell the City what they need as we recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. Their opinions and ideas are shared in our new report, Community Voices Pave the Road to Recovery.

The City of Toronto partnered with us to design and deliver a city-wide consultation process—led by residents, grassroots groups, and community organizations—to engage residents from Indigenous populations, equity-seeking groups, vulnerable populations, and neighbourhoods with disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 cases. 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Report Examines Which of Toronto’s Problems are Better, and Which are Bigger, after 10 Years of Austerity

Welcome to 2020! As we look ahead to a new decade and the launch of the City of Toronto’s 2020 budget, we decided to take stock of Toronto at the end of the ‘10s, so that we may learn from the past and chart a new path forward. 

Our Toronto After a Decade of Austerity: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly report looks at how our city has progressed, declined, or stagnated over the past decade in three key areas:

  1. housing,
  2. child care, and
  3. public transit, cycling, and walking.

We assess the current state of the city after a decade of austerity budgets using 20 quantitative indicators and offer resolutions to build a better city. Three immediate options are to:

New Research on the U.S. Housing Choice Voucher Program Offers Lessons for Canada

Friday, November 22, 2019 – Today, on National Housing Day, Social Planning Toronto releases its new report, “Learning from Our Neighbours to the South: The U.S. Housing Choice Voucher Program - Evidence and Lessons for Canada.” 

This in-depth review of the Housing Choice Voucher Program provides a base of evidence to guide the development of the Canada Housing Benefit, a key component of Canada’s National Housing Strategy. The report offers lessons from the U.S. experience, identifies principles and practices that best support positive outcomes for tenants, and articulates the limitations of portable housing benefits for addressing housing needs. 

A City Left Behind: Poverty Reduction, Election Promises, and the 2019 Budget

In the lead up to the 2018 City of Toronto municipal election, Social Planning Toronto, Commitment TO Community, and Faith in the City asked candidates for Mayor and City Council to sign the “Prosperity Pledge”, an election promise to follow through on actions to advance the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy during the 2018-2022 term of Council. The Pledge included specific, measurable commitments to be met by 2022, with a focus on housing and homelessness, public transit, child care, and recreation.

A total of 73% of the members of the new Council, including Mayor Tory, signed the Pledge. The 2019 City budget offers the first opportunity for Toronto City Council to begin to make good on its election promises to act on poverty.

How to Hub: Community Hub Development Toolkit

The “How to Hub: Community Hub Development Toolkit” is a practical guide to support residents, parents and community allies in advocating for a community hub in their neighbourhood. This toolkit offers introductory information on a range of topics relevant to groups that are in the initial stages of developing a community hub or who would like more information before beginning their journey.

Central Etobicoke Hub Feasibility Study

Using multiple sources of data, the Central Etobicoke Hub Feasibility Study provides an in-depth understanding of the current deficits in community services and community spaces in Central Etobicoke and accesses the feasibility of a community hub as an important step to addressing some of these deficits. The report identifies, assesses, and prioritizes community needs; identifies community assets and resources; identifies walkability and transit issues that affect access; outlines demographic information; captures the unique needs of the area; identifies accessible locations for community space; records specific areas of interest and programming needs; establishes potential partnerships and identifies potential governance models. The study builds on the preliminary work of various community groups, with members who have been raising awareness around the lack of services and the deficits in community spaces in Central Etobicoke since the 1990s.

Promises, Promises: City Council Commitments & The 2018 Budget

Social Planning Toronto’s budget brief, Promises, Promises, documents the systematic underfunding of key council-approved strategies and service plans in the 2018 city budget. Social Planning Toronto analysis indicates that to meet the commitments council has made, this budget would require:

  • an increased investment of $36 million in the 2018 city operating budget;
  • an additional $35 million to double council’s commitment to new affordable rental housing development;
  • a revision of the city’s budget process to ensure transparency and accountability on critical issues affecting Toronto.

The report presents funding options to support council-approved strategies and service plans.

Inclusionary Zoning: Evidence and Implications for Ontario

In December 2016, the Province of Ontario introduced legislation that will allow municipalities to enact inclusionary zoning (IZ) as part of a broader plan to increase the stock of affordable housing. This was welcome news for many who have called for inclusionary zoning as part of the solution to Ontario’s affordable housing crisis.

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