On Wednesday, March 29, TWCA attended BetterTO’s Salon on the Toronto Housing Crisis.
BetterTO invited urban planner Sean Galbraith and advocate/academic Emily Paradis to speak about the housing crisis, what it is and what can we do about it. The session was moderated by Aisha Jamal, who opened the evening by sharing her own experience of job and housing insecurity (10 apartments in 15 years!) and her curiosity about the housing crisis, which is overwhelming her conversations with friends.
After some pretty dire statistics about the rise in costs for rentals and home ownership, the presenters spoke about room for activism and systemic change.
Speakers called out the federal and provincial governments for abandoning their responsibility to provide affordable housing. They talked about issues TWCA has advocated for in the past, including Inclusionary Zoning and housing as a human right and the need to amend zoning to include more mixed uses to make for more livable neighbourhoods. They spoke about how the housing crisis is particularly affecting marginalized populations, including newcomers, people with disabilities, and women. They also called out developers for not paying their share of City services and how that lost City revenue further prevents the City from being able to tackle this issue. You can review the conversation on BetterTO’s Twitter feed.
Three ways people can get more involved with housing advocacy are coming up quickly!
1. Attend the City’s April 3 Affordable Housing Committee meeting.
2. Follow the private member’s bill pushing to extend rent control for buildings built after 1991. ACORN Canada has a petition linked to this issue.
3. Follow the federal government’s long overdue plan for a national housing strategy. Funding was announced in the latest budget. The plan should come out in the next few months, as will advocacy opportunities! Keep watch!