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September 2, 2003
Despite Toronto's strong economy, many are left behind - report finds Toronto Report Card on Housing and Homelessness 2003
  
Despite Toronto's strong economy, many people in need of affordable housing are
being left behind. This is the major finding of the Toronto Report Card on
Housing and Homelessness 2003, released today by the City of Toronto.

The Report Card also found that there was a need for action by all governments
to address the housing crisis in Toronto.

The highlights of the Report Card include the finding that 25 per cent of
Toronto's population (552,300 households) have incomes below the poverty line.
Meanwhile, some 250,000 Toronto households pay more than 30 per cent of their
income on rent.

The Report Card also discovered that demand for housing and homeless services
continues to rise. Some 71,000 households are now on the municipal waiting list
for affordable social housing, while 31,985 different people (including 4,779
children) stayed in one of Toronto's shelters last year.

"It is shocking that the housing needs of so many Toronto residents are going
unmet," said Councillor Olivia Chow, Chair of Community Services Community.
"The 2003 Report Card is a wake-up call that we need real action on affordable
housing - action that addresses the real needs of children and adults in our
community."

The Report Card suggests some key actions to be taken by the various
governments:
  • The federal government should expedite the funding of affordable housing projects and provide capital funding for social housing repair and revitalization.
  • The provincial government should take action in six specific areas.
    1. Cost-share the federal affordable housing program with real provincial dollars.
    2. Help low-income households pay the rent through a program of new rent supplements.
    3. Increase the shelter benefit for people receiving social assistance.
    4. Help people to pay their housing costs by raising the minimum wage.
    5. Fund new supportive housing for tenants with special and supportive needs.
    6. Provide capital funding for social housing repair and revitalization.
  • The City of Toronto must continue to use municipal resources to help create affordable housing and support the development of new affordable housing across the city.
"We must take the
findings of the report card and move forward with concrete solutions," said
Eric Gam, Commissioner of Community and Neighbourhood Services. "We have made
some modest gains over the past several years, but much more needs to be done."

This is the third report card issued by the City of Toronto since the 1999
report of the Mayor's Homelessness Action Task Force.

The Report Card will be circulated to members of Toronto City Council and
interested parties. It will be tabled at the meeting of the Community Services
Committee on September 8 and considered by Toronto City Council at their
regular meeting in September.

To obtain copies of the Report Card, please call the City of Toronto at
416-395-5388.

Media contact:

Susan Shepherd, City of Toronto, Community and Neighbourhood Services,
416-392-5398



 

 

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