Participatory budgeting is part of Toronto Community Housing's commitment to a participatory decision-making process where tenants have a say in shaping their communities participatory planning. Tenants make decisions on capital spending for their communities following budget deliberations in their buildings, in the Community Housing Units (CHUs) and at an annual event that involves all the Community Housing Units - $1.8M Allocation Day. This year, approximately 8,000 tenants participated in the process leading up to the Tenant Allocation Day.
On April 5, close to 170 people, including tenants, staff and observers gathered at the North York Civic Centre Council Chambers to watch participatory budgeting in action at this year's $1.8M Allocation Day. Each Community Housing Unit sent one tenant delegate to present a proposal for funding from the $1.8M tenant allocated capital fund.
The tenant delegates made very convincing presentations and had a chance to review each others' displays before it was time to vote. As usual, based on guidelines set out by the Participatory Budgeting Committee, each CHU had 10 votes for allocating funds and delegates could not vote for their own project. There were four CHUs that were tied with eight votes each for the remaining $151, 824. Prior to a second vote, the four Community Housing Units (CHUs 19, 11, 16 and 22) were asked if they would be able to carry out their projects with only partial funding. Community Housing Units 11, 16 and 22 would not have been unable to do their projects without full funding.
Following a second vote to settle tied results Community Housing Unit 19 was able to get full funding for their project. This has left $28,064.12 remaining the fund. The Participatory Budgeting Committee will discuss how to allocate the remaining money.
At the end of the day, 13 CHUs will receive full funding for their projects.This was the fifth year for the $1.8M Allocation Day for Toronto Community Housing. Each year, thanks to a committee with Tenant Representatives from each CHU, the Allocation Day process is improved. Tenants worked very hard, supported by staff, to make this day the success that it was.