City unveils new $24B plan to help Toronto handle housing issues

Mayor John Tory is throwing his support behind a decade-long action plan that would see all three levels of government spend $23.4 billion to help more than 300,000 people deal with housing issues.

The money would go toward building some 40,000 new affordable and supportive housing options.

Tory told reporters creating that housing is a "social imperative" if Toronto wants to be a healthy city.

"I will be working hard with the other orders of government to ensure the entire HousingTO Action Plan is fully funded," Tory said in a statement. "This has to be a priority — we have to come together to support households who are struggling to pay the rent and keep, or put, a roof over their heads.

"Ensuring that residents in our city have access to housing will benefit our entire city. It gives people the opportunity to meet their full potential and to participate in our city's success."

"This will positively change people's lives," said Coun. Ana Bailao, council's housing advocate.

According to the plan, which the city has dubbed the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, 341,000 households would be helped by its implementation.

"In particular, high rental and ownership costs have left over 194,000 households (or 17.5% of all private households) paying more that 50% of their income on housing," the city report notes.

"The City's commitment through current and future investments is proposed to be $8.5 billion over 10 years (including operating, capital investment and other financial tools)."

The report also notes that contributions from both non-profit and private sectors will be necessary to achieve its targets.

The city says the plan contains 76 actions to address housing needs, including:

  • Enhancing measures to prevent evictions and people becoming homeless.
  • Preserving rental homes that currently exist.
  • Adopting a new program definition of affordable housing based on income.
  • Create a multi-sector land bank to support the approval of 40,000 new rental and supportive homes.