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July 27, 2001
Toronto calls for joint action to kick-start rental housing
  
At its meeting of July 24, 25 and 26, 2001, City Council approved Unlocking the
Opportunity for New Rental Housing: A Call to Action. The City's report sets
out a number of actions needed to spur the construction of new rental housing.

"Everyone knows we need new rental housing," said Mayor Mel Lastman. "New
housing policies and programs from the federal and provincial governments are
desperately needed if there is any hope in restarting the rental housing
industry."

Mayor Mel Lastman, Councillors Mike Feldman and Joe Pantalone forwarded letters
to federal and provincial ministers today urging them to designate resources to
undertake recommended actions and report back on their commitment by September
30, 2001.

"We've studied the problem of rental housing shortage to death," said
Councillor Mike Feldman. "It's time for all three governments to sit at the
same table and roll up their sleeves to get those shovels into the ground. If
governments act on these recommendations, rental builders have committed to
build an initial 3,500 new rental units in Toronto alone."

Unlocking the Opportunity begins the City's Official Plan housing campaign to
ensure a range of housing options, including new and affordable rental housing.
The actions that will remove barriers to rental construction include treating
rental housing fairly in tax legislation, changing Canada Mortgage and Housing
Company's restrictive underwriting criteria, providing municipalities with more
planning flexibility and training more skilled construction tradespeople.

"The Rental Action Plan is about recreating the conditions that build a healthy
rental housing industry," said Councillor Joe Pantalone, Chair of the Planning
and Transportation Committee. "We have a growing population, a growing need
for new rental housing, and yet only 30 private units were built last year. We
must act now."

Unlocking the Opportunity was publicly released on June 22, 2001. The report is
an outcome of the City's Urban Development Roundtable -- Rental Working Group,
formed in July 2000 to find solutions to the rental housing shortage. The group
is comprised of rental builders and City officials.

A summary of the City's report and a profile of renters are available on the
City of Toronto Web site at http://www.c ity.toronto.on.ca/torontoplan/rental_housing.htm.


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