Toronto Community Housing a leader in participatory budgeting

Toronto Community Housing a leader in participatory budgeting

March 31, 2007

On March 31, Tenant Representatives from all 27 Community Housing Units across Toronto Community Housing will decide how to spend $1.8 million in tenant allocated capital funds.

Since 2001, tenants at Toronto Community Housing have decided how to spend $9 million every year through a participatory budgeting process. This process is modeled after the first participatory budgeting process which began in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989. The Porto Alegre model, and subsequently the model used by Toronto Community Housing, was chosen as a Best Practice by the United Nations in Public Budgeting and Governance.

As part of the participatory budgeting process, Toronto Community Housing reserves $9 million every year for tenant allocated capital. Of the $9 million, $7.2 million is given to Community Housing Units for local decision making at community budget deliberations and $1.8 million is distributed at the annual Allocation Day.

This is the fourth year for the Allocation Day at Toronto Community Housing. On this day, tenants will present proposals to their fellow tenants and a representative from each Community Housing Unit will vote for projects that have the most need. Proposals include many different types of needs. This year, some requests include a new, safe playground, a wheelchair ramp at the front of a building and replacement of 25 year-old walkways and fences.

Allocation Day is an important part of the participatory budgeting process because it brings together tenants from each Community Housing Unit across Toronto for collective decision making.

In 2006, some of the projects tenants selected included a new community space, lighting to improve community safety and community gardens and other landscaping projects to improve the grounds at some properties.

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Tenants gather in the North York City Council Chambers at the 2006 Allocation Day.