On February 15, the City of Toronto passed its 2023 budget. The Right to Housing Toronto (R2HTO) submitted our recommendations to the Budget Committee in January, emphasizing the need for the City to take a rights-based approach by ensuring a participatory process, and that the maximum of available resources are being made available, prioritizing those who need it the most.
Here are some of the positives and negatives of what has been committed to this year in the budget.
- First, we are disappointed that the budget process did not take a rights-based approach. Funds were allocated to various programs, and then the leftover funds were used to fund critical initiatives in the city to house people. A rights-based approach would have prioritized the needs of those most impacted by the affordable and adequate housing crisis, and allocated the maximum available resources for initiatives that can house all Torontonians.
- Councillor Carroll’s proposal to allocate $800K to open an additional 24/7 warming centre until April 15 passed. Currently, with no 24/7 warming centres, this is a positive step that will support 50 people for 2-months. However, Councillor Bravo’s proposal to allocate $900K for 24/7 warming centres that would be provided in partnership with non-profit community partners did not pass. One 24/7 warming centre for 2-months is not enough to meet the needs of unhoused people.
- Councillor Carroll’s proposal to expand the proposed budget of $6.2 million for the Rent Bank by $1 million passed, which will help more tenants to pay their rent arrears and stabilize their housing passed.
- RentSafeTO will have $848K to hire 8 new full-time staff thanks to Councillor Matlow’s motion.
- Budget commitments will also support Housing Secretariat’s office to develop a renovictions bylaw, increase the supply of affordable & supportive housing for Indigenous and Black communities, and more. However, proposal by Councillor Matlow to expand the Tenant Support Program to support the growing number of tenants dealing with renovictions failed.
- Budget commitments for ML&S department will also support the implementation of multi-tenant houses licensing program and the enforcement of short-term rentals.
- Toronto also approved $882K to allocate to establishing the Housing Commissioner role with the Ombudsman’s office.
- The budget also commits funds to support the City Planning department in the creation of new housing under the EHON program and other revitalization projects.