[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto Community Housing moves funding to address budget gap”
The Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro writes about the latest problems with Toronto Community Housing finding money to do the long-needed repairs to its stock.
The Toronto Community Housing board voted Thursday to amend its 2017 budget, taking $19 million in recently identified surplus funds in order to reduce a $35.2-million shortfall.
That change takes some pressure off Mayor John Tory and the budget committee, who are looking to close a $91-million gap in the city’s overall operating budget.
Having used most of the surplus to cut the shortfall, TCHC will likely use money from a different source to boost its spending to fix crumbling buildings. It’s expected that the board will draw $22 million from special reserve funds specifically for capital repairs — further burdening the city’s finances in 2018. But it helps TCHC to fund a total of $250 million in repairs next year.
Choosing to use the surplus in this way, which is ultimately up to the board, contradicts advice from interim CEO Greg Spearn that the priority for any additional funds should be capital repairs and residents’ homes.
“Toronto Community Housing does not have the money to maintain our residents’ units at a proper state of repair today and we certainly don’t have the money to improve them properly for the future,” Councillor Joe Cressy, who sits on the board, told the Star. “The City of Toronto should take a stand in repair of good, decent housing for residents of TCHC and unfortunately we let the city off the hook today.”