Social Housing Investment is a Start

Social Housing Investment is a Start

January 29, 2009

The federal budget delivered on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 contained new investments in social housing including:

  • $1 billion for social housing renovations over the next two years. This is expected to fund 200,000 units of social housing.
  • $600 million for on-reserve accommodation for aboriginal people (repairs and new housing) over two years.
  • $400 million for seniors' housing over two years, to be cost-shared with the province and territories.
  • $75 million for housing for people with disabilities over two years to be cost-shared with the provinces and territories.
  • $2 billion in low-interest loans for municipal housing-related infrastructure projects, available through 2011, for projects including sewers, waterlines and "neighbourhood regeneration projects, thus contributing to healthier, safer and modern communities."

Toronto Community Housing is grateful that the federal government of Canada has once again committed to invest in social housing. The federal government is following the lead of Toronto Mayor David Miller and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who are investing $75 million and $36.5 million respectively in social housing repairs at Toronto Community Housing.

The question that remains to be answered is how much of the money with flow to the City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing, when will the cash become available, and will the federal government continue to support social housing in the years ahead.

Toronto Community Housing's Real Estate Asset Investment Strategy calls for about $1 billion to be invested over the next 10 years to maintain a good state of repair of our aging housing stock which houses 164,000 residents in the City of Toronto. Ontario alone needs about $1.2 billion for social housing, while the entire country needs between $4.5 and $5 billion in social housing investments.

In the pre-budget consultation, Toronto Community Housing's 2009 Federal Budget Submission made three specific recommendations:

  • Invest in social housing energy retrofits and repairs
  • Increase the availability of low cost loans for social housing providers
  • Invest in construction of new affordable housing

Toronto Community Housing has many "shovel-ready" projects that can provide fast, effective stimulus to the Canadian economy, including:

  • $200 million in retrofit and repair work in both 2009 and 2010
  • Construction of new affordable housing in Regent Park, the Railway Lands and the West Don Lands. A $110 million federal investment would allow construction to start in the Railway Lands and West Don Lands in fall 2009
  • A green smart building plan that will automate our buildings to improve the efficiency of building operations, reduce energy consumption, improve comfort for tenants, reduce wear on equipment and lower maintenance costs