SPT and partners call for action on overcrowding in rental housing: A housing issue, a planning issue, and a racial justice issue
July 21 update: Good news! Councillor Wong-Tam’s motion did not require a Council vote. City staff will now carry out the work on overcrowding in rental housing. Watch for a staff report in the first quarter of 2022. We’ll keep you in the loop as this work proceeds.
Overcrowding is a widespread problem in rental housing. In addition to an important planning concern, it is also relevant to racial and social justice, as overcrowding disproportionately affects Indigenous peoples[i], racialized individuals[ii], newcomers[iii], refugees[iv], lone mother–led families[v], and low-income households[vi]. Further, it is a spatial or place-based problem, with higher rates of overcrowding among tenants in the northwest corner of the city, parts of North York and East York, and most of Scarborough.
June 22 was a shameful day for Toronto. Our neighbours who are experiencing homelessness were forcibly removed from their encampment at Trinity Bellwoods Park by well over 100 police officers and contracted private security guards. Residents and advocates across the city watched in horror as the rights of those most vulnerable in our city were violated.
2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the Frances Lankin Community Service Award!
We established the Frances Lankin Award in 2011 to honour Fances Lankin on her retirement from United Way Toronto. Each year, we present awards in two categories: Lifetime Achievement, and Inspiring Leadership.
We are thrilled to announce this year's recipients!
What does the 2021 Federal Budget include for communities and nonprofits? Investments in nine important issues
On April 19, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, presented the Government of Canada’s 2021 Budget: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience. The Federal Budget aims to conquer COVID-19, quickly overcome the pandemic recession, and build a more resilient Canada. Below, we break down what Canada’s new financial plan includes for local residents and community organizations in nine important issue areas.
Year after year, Toronto approves recordbreaking numbers of highrise condo units that the vast majority of renters can't afford. Most of these new units are bought up as investment properties to be rented at exorbitant prices and flipped. It's an unsustainable and terribly unfair way to develop our city.
What Toronto needs is more affordable, secure rental units. But over the last decade, for every 9 condo units completed, only 1 purpose-built rental unit was completed.
Social Planning Toronto enthusiastically announces and welcomes Jin Huh as our new Executive Director.
Events over the past year have made clear the systemic racism and injustices that racialized, Black, and Indigenous communities continue to face. The murders that occured in Atlanta, Georgia, spas on March 26, 2021, are a stark example of that. These brazen shootings were an expression not only of anti-Asian hate but also of gender-based violence. They also highlight the marginalization of migrant sex workers.
Social Planning Toronto recognizes that these acts are not unique to the United States. Sadly, inequalities continue to divide us, and Asian individuals experience racism on a daily basis. Forms of anti-Asian hate and violence persist in Toronto and across Canada. Nationally, more than 600 incidents of anti-Asian racism were reported between March 10 and Dec. 31, 2020, about one-quarter of them in Toronto, ranging from microaggressions to verbal harassment to physical attacks.
Social Planning Toronto (SPT) is a non-profit, charitable community organization that works to advance social justice in Toronto to create an equitable and inclusive society for all residents. Our work involves community research and social reporting, capacity-building and convening, and advocacy.
SPT is governed by a 15-member, volunteer Board of Directors who are committed to SPT's purposes and mission. Although Board members do not represent a particular community, constituency, or organization in Board service, the composition of the Board should reflect as much as possible the character and nature of the communities we serve. To that end, the nominations committee will apply the following recruitment considerations:
Social Planning Toronto is an independent social planning organization. We challenge inequity in our city through knowledge generation, debate, civic engagement, advocacy, and collaboration, to spark social and policy change.
We are looking for a part-time (3 days/week) Community Planner to support an SPT initiative until December 17, 2021.
The general responsibilities of the position are to work with local community organizations, networks, and coalitions to build local community capacity and engagement and to support local projects/initiatives.
Last month, we called on the Minister of Finance to address the disparities exacerbated by the pandemic and to prioritize communities and nonprofits by:
- Supporting municipal finances;
- Protecting tenants and increasing the supply of adequate housing;
- Financing and improving access to essential public services and programs;
- Supporting workers; and
- Investing in the nonprofit sector.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy presented the 2021 Ontario budget – Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. It is the Province’s $186 billion-dollar plan for stimulating Ontario’s economy and jumpstarting our long journey towards recovery.
In a nutshell, this year’s provincial budget focuses on health and economic recovery. The Government of Ontario is funding short-term benefits, grants, and temporary tax credits for families and businesses, and is investing in health care and tourism.
So, what’s the good news and bad news for Toronto residents, communities, and nonprofits from this second provincial pandemic budget?