A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘toronto community housing

[URBAN NOTE] Six Toronto links

  • NOW Toronto reports on the long-time independent weekly’s sale to a venture capital firm, here.
  • The Yonge-Eglinton Centre now hosts a venue where people can nap in peace. Toronto Life has photos, here.
  • The family of North York van attack victim Anne-Marie D’Amico hopes to raise one million dollars for a women’s shelter. The National Post reports.
  • Toronto Community Housing, after a terrible accident, has banned its tenants from having window air conditioners. Global News reports.
  • blogTO reports on the ridiculous heights to which surge pricing took ride fares on Uber and Lyft during yesterday morning’s shutdown.
  • blogTO notes that the Ontario government has provided funding to study the idea of extension of the Eglinton Crosstown west to Pearson Airport.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: 1932 streetcar map, Oakwood, Graphic Arts, evictions, Lil Berete

  • Artist Jake Berman’s map of the Toronto streetcar network circa 1932 is a thing of beauty. r/Toronto has it.
  • Urban Toronto takes a look at a new midrise condo development on Oakwood near Eglinton.
  • CBC Toronto notes the complaints of tenants at the Graphic Arts building on Richmond and Bay that people in an adjoining condo tower keep flicking garbage onto their building.
  • What effect would the Ford government’s proposal to streamline the process of landlords evicting tenants have, overall? The Toronto Star considers.
  • NOW Toronto reports that rising Toronto rapper Lil Berete, from Regent Park, has been ordered to stop filming his videos at the Toronto Community Housing project he shares with his mother on pain of eviction.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Galleria Mall, Keesmaat on Gardiner, anti-Ford, TTC, housing

  • blogTO highlights a fascinating new book project by Toronto writer Shari Kasman, assembling a hundred photos of the beloved Galleria Mall.
  • Chris Selley notes how the promise of mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat to tear down the eastern Gardiner speaks directly to her progressive supporters, over at the National Post.
  • The Conversation hosts this well-reasoned article arguing that the City of Toronto must keep resisting the Ford government’s intrusions.
  • Steve Munro has many questions about the idea of a takeover of the TTC by the Ontario government.
  • That more than three thousand people joined a lottery for less than one hundred apartments at the new Toronto Community Housing location at 110 River Street speaks to the new for affordable housing in Toronto. Global News reports.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Doug Ford, elections, Garrison Crossing, TCH smoke free, streets

  • The City Council of Toronto, out of all the cities councils in all of the cities in Ontario, was the only one targeted for such a sharp reduction in councilors. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Alexandra Flynn at Spacing reports on some legal strategies that could be brought to bear by the City of Toronto against the Doug Ford actions.
  • blogTO notes a new pedestrian crossing, the Garrison Crossing, bridging the rail lines west of Fort York.
  • The new smoke-free policy of Toronto Community Housing will also apply to marijuana smoke. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Christopher Hume considers, in an era where cars and their drivers compete with other users of our major streets, just what does make a street successful. The Toronto Star has it.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Vimy Ridge Avenu, Community Housing, GO Transit, Toronto police

  • The midtown Toronto street formerly known as Vimy Ridge Ave was renamed in 1928 because that First World War battle simply had not penetrated the Canadian consciousness. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Toronto Community Housing is going to sell off high-value real estate it owns while apparently not inconveniencing its tenants. The Globe and Mail reports.
  • Metrolinx is still going to approve two new GO Transit stations, Kirby and Lawrence East, despite apparent political interference. The Toronto Star reports.
  • It did take the murder of well-connected, out, white Andrew Kinsman to get police to take the idea of a serial killer seriously. What police told the family of Abdulbasir Faizi is unforgiveable. Global News reports.
  • Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders is lying about the lack of active community concern about the possibility of a serial killer at work in Church and Wellesley, and is underplaying the incompetence of Toronto police and his own role. What else can we say? The Globe and Mail covers this.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Allan Gardens, history of the streets, crime, TCH

  • blogTO notes an exciting plan for the revitalization of Allan Gardens.
  • Torontonians have been complaining about the state of our streets for well over a century, as the Toronto Star notes.
  • CBC notes that investigating a serial killer case, as the Bruce McArthur case seems to be, without having any bodies, makes it difficult but still (especially with modern forensics) potentially workable.
  • Toronto police have confirmed that Barry and Honey Sherman, Toronto billionaires, were murdered. The Toronto Star reports.
  • The ombudsman review of the state of Toronto Community Housing speaks ill of that organization’s ability to adequately house its tenants. The Toronto Star goes into detail.

[URBAN NOTE] Five notes on the housing market in Toronto, from TCH to Parkdale to investors

  • In an old NOW Toronto article from March, Lisa Ferguson writes about how a neighbourhood land trust hopes to control prices in Parkdale.
  • The Globe and Mail‘s Jill Mahoney and Justin Giovannetti note a recent study suggesting that less than 5% of home sales in the Toronto area are to foreign buyers.
  • The Globe and Mail‘s Carolyn Ireland notes that, in a fluctuating market, homeowners are caught between pressures to buy and to sell.
  • NOW Toronto‘s Sheila Block argues that, among others, the Bank of Canada needs to prepare for a housing crash.
  • The Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro notes that Toronto Community Housing has been ordered to close no more units. No word on where the money will come from.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 5, 2017 at 5:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Five links about Toronto neighbourhoods, past and present and future

  • Metro Toronto‘s David Hains reports on a new interactive map of Trinity-Bellwoods Park designed to help users find other people in that large complex space.
  • You’ll never have to spend 20 minutes trying to find your friend in Trinity-Bellwoods Park again.

    New York-based cartographer (and former Toronto Star employee) William Davis loves Toronto, and so he knows this is one of the city’s great summer frustrations. It’s because of the geographically complicated, but very popular park, that he and Tom Weatherburn made an interactive map for Torontonians to share their location.

    All users need to do is drag and drop a “here” pin on a map of the park. It can be accessed for free at the MapTO website, a personal project with Weatherburn that features quirky and interesting maps on a variety of city subjects.

    The Trinity-Bellwoods map is overlaid with easy-to-read icons, including a dog at the dog bowl, a baseball at the baseball diamond, and beer mugs where people like to hang out.

  • The Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro describes the catastrophic state of repair of far too many of the houses of Toronto Community Housing.
  • Half of Toronto Community Housing developments will be in “critical” condition in the next five years without additional funding for repairs, according to an internal database provided to the Star.

    Already, the data shows more than 30 social-housing properties are in serious disrepair. Of 364 developments — which include houses and groupings of low-rise buildings and towers — 222 developments are ranked in “poor” condition, with dozens edging on critical condition, based on a standard ranking used by the housing corporation.

    Those critical sites are homes for more than 3,000 individuals and families.

    The data shows a pervasive problem at a time when the city is grappling with how to keep thousands of units open with a $1.73-billion funding gap.

    Of the 364 developments, more than 100 were offloaded onto the city by the province more than a decade and a half ago without money needed to cover the repairs. Of the buildings in the critical and poor categories, more than a third were downloaded by the province.

  • Back in August, Yasmine Laarsroui wrote for Torontoist about the potential for the housing co-op model to help solve the Toronto housing crisis.
  • Those affected by the lack of rent controls left young professionals, like reporter Shannon Martin, with no option but to turn to more extreme alternatives, such as couch-surfing.

    Young people seeking more reliable housing options are turning to co-op housing—at least, those lucky enough to get a unit.

    Toronto renter Donald Robert moved into Cabbagetown’s Diane Frankling Co-operative Homes in September 2016 and speaks highly of his experience.

    Robert pays $1,300 for a large two-bedroom unit with access to an underground parking and a small gym, almost $500 cheaper than the average one-bedroom unit in Toronto. Robert explains that, “the best part though has been the community here. Everybody says ‘hi.’”

  • Also back in April, John Lorinc wrote in Spacing about the oft-overlooked musicality of the lost neighbourhood of The Ward.
  • If you try to imagine your way back into the early 20th century streets and laneways of The Ward — the dense immigrant enclave razed to make way for Toronto’s City Hall — you might pick up the sounds of newsies and peddlers hawking their wares, the clanging of the area’s junk and lumber yards, and shrieking children playing on the Elizabeth Street playground north of Dundas.

    Those streets would also reverberate day and night with a jumble of languages — Italian, Yiddish, Chinese. The dialects and accents of these newcomers were considered to be not only “foreign,” but also proof (to the keepers of Toronto’s Anglo-Saxon morality) of the area’s worrisome social and physical failings.

    But despite the fact that many mainstream Torontonians saw The Ward as an impoverished blight on the face of the city, the neighbourhood resonated with energy and culture and music — evidence of the resilience of the stigmatized newcomers who settled there in waves from the late 19th century onward.

    Photographers recorded fiddle players and organ grinders with their hurdy gurdies, playing as mesmerized children listened. After their shifts ended, one 1914 account noted, labourers whiled away their free times playing mandolins or concertinas as they sang rags and the Neapolitan songs so popular at the time.

    “When sleep in crowded rooms seems all but impossible,” journalist Emily Weaver observed in The Globe and Mail in 1910, “the people of ‘The Ward’ are astir till all hours, and the Italians amuse themselves by singing in their rich sweet voices the songs of their far-away homelands or dancing their native dances to the music of a mandolin or guitar in the open roadway beneath the stars.”

  • The Toronto Star‘s Azzura Lalani describes how the rapid growth of young families in Leslieville threatens to overload local schools. What will the Downtown Relief Line do?
  • As the mother of a 16-month-old boy, Michelle Usprech is looking to leave the Financial District where it’s just “suits and suits and suits,” for a more family friendly vibe, and she’s got her eye on Leslieville.

    But one of Toronto’s most family-friendly neighbourhoods may be a victim of its own success as signs from the Toronto District School Board have cropped up, warning parents in Leslieville their children may not be able to attend their local school because of possible overcrowding, school board spokesperson Ryan Bird confirmed.

    Those signs warn that “due to residential growth, sufficient accommodation may not be available for all students,” despite the school board making “every effort to accommodate students at local schools.”

    [. . .]

    It’s a concern for some parents, including Kerry Sharpe, who lives in Leslieville and has a four-month-old daughter named Eisla.

    “It’s still early days for me,” she said, but, “it is a concern. Even daycare, that’s hard to get into, so I don’t see it getting any better.”

    [URBAN NOTE] “Why Regent Park’s Revitalization Needs $108 Million More to Keep Going”

    Torontoist’s Alex McKeen explains why Toronto Community Housing finds it needs hundred million dollars to finish its revitalization of Regent Park, unexpectedly. There are both contingent and structural reasons at work.

    The revitalization of Regent Park has been lauded as a “game changer”—partly because of the project’s mixed-income integration model. But despite its flourishing amenities and the positive attention it has attracted, the community—long one of the poorest in Toronto—is far from immune to funding woes.

    A January 17 report from the City of Toronto’s Budget Committee indicates that the first two phases of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation plan for Regent Park have seen a significant funding shortfall. As a result, phase three of the project, which includes replacing 339 units of housing, is expected to have unfunded costs totalling $107.7 million.

    “According to TCHC, delays in timing of sales of market housing resulted in delays in the social housing redevelopment,” a portion of the report reads. The Budget Committee also cited “additional unexpected costs” associated with phases one and two of the project to have contributed to the funding shortfall.

    In order for phase three of the project to proceed, the Budget Committee has recommended that the City of Toronto authorize TCHC to incur indebtedness of $107.7 million.

    This measure reflects a larger problem in the TCHC. The deputy city manager’s Tenants First report, dated June 14 2016, called the TCHC’s business model “fundamentally broken,” with a growing operating deficit resulting from “a combination of static revenues and rapidly increasing operating costs.” The report also identifies numerous governance and organizational issues.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    February 11, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    [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.”

    Written by Randy McDonald

    December 9, 2016 at 5:00 pm