Toronto, City Hall, Homelessness, Homeless People, Coronavirus, Covıd-19, Pandemic, Mayor John Tory, Modular-Housing Projects

Toronto, City Hall

Will the coronavirus spur Toronto to solve its housing crisis?

Will the coronavirus spur Toronto to solve its housing crisis?

2020-04-07 3:20:00 AM

Will the coronavirus spur Toronto to solve its housing crisis?

COVID-19 is forcing Toronto ’s government to confront homelessness, with the promise of real change

Mr. Tory said the city’s real estate agency, CreateTO, has identified a list of city-owned sites where it would be possible to quickly build supportive housing projects with factory-built components.The City of Vancouver has used this technique to build 600 units on 10 sites since 2017. Mr. Tory said he is pushing for one or two such projects to be built as quickly as possible. While he wouldn’t commit to a specific timeline, he suggested this would be less than 18 months, and pledged an “accelerated” process to buy materials and services. He said the city is hoping for capital support from the federal government and the province. “We need to move at wartime speed on this,” he said.

Trudeau pushing for 10 days of paid sick leave from provinces amid coronavirus Lockdown 2.0? Case spikes could lead to more coronavirus restrictions Muslim communities in Edmonton adapt to celebrate Eid al-Fitr amid COVID-19 restrictions

So far, the City of Toronto has been moving people who are now homeless out of shelters and respite centres, where crowded and unsanitary conditions make it difficult to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As of Monday, the city had leased 1,200 hotel rooms for this purpose, according to Councillor Joe Cressy, who is leading this file for the city. “Our mandate is: one person, one bed, one room,” he said.

This effort started late, and it’s received criticism from advocates for the homeless. “The response has been sluggish, and a lot of it has been done without consultation,” said street nurse Cathy Crowe. But Ms. Crowe also argued that it will be necessary to provide longer-term housing.

A vaccine for the coronavirus is at least 18 months away. The current state of Toronto homeless shelters and respite centres – Ms. Crowe described the latter as “hellholes” – doesn’t allow for maintaining health or physical distancing among people who are homeless.

Mr. Cressy agrees. “The last thing we should do is rapidly rehouse people only to send them back into the streets,” he said. This is where hotel rooms come in. The councillor said the city is working on long-term leases or purchase agreements for several facilities.

The city has to do this, whatever it costs. It’s a bare requirement to maintain public health. Some conservative politicians have been willing to tolerate a great amount of suffering among homeless and underhoused people. In a pandemic, that callousness can’t continue.

Story continues below advertisementBut as the politics of housing are up in the air, what else could change? Mr. Cressy is advocating for large-scale construction, paralleling the bungalow boom that followed the Second World War. “The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to end homelessness,” he said. “But as part of a recovery, we could upzone all the transitways” – major roads served by transit –"and use that to spur development and serve the middle at the same time.” To translate: Zoning changes that would allow immediate construction of housing, some of it affordable for middle-income earners, on specific streets.

NHL/NHLPA targeting early June for Phase 2 - TSN.ca There will be 'lessons learned' from situation at Trinity Bellwoods Park: Tory Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens briefly closes after 2 staff members test positive for COVID-19

Mr. Tory is on board with this concept. He described it as an extension of the Housing Now program, in which the city provides land to developers in exchange for some affordable housing. “We need to scale up these sorts of efforts, on our way to a goal of 40,000 units over 10 years,” he said.

This is a good idea. It’s a progressive attempt to harness the city’s power to change planning rules – to allow more building, which is effectively a licence to print money.But it’s not bold enough. Remaking a few streets won’t make much impact. But Toronto is a big city,

with vast areas of house neighbourhoods that could be “upzoned.” Replace detached houses with townhouses or apartment buildings, and you would create huge value that could be channelled into affordable housing.Now’s the time to begin that change, with a large-scale program of social housing in the neighbourhoods.

This sounds radical. But in a crisis, many things become possible.Story continues below advertisementCoronavirus Update newsletterto read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters.In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please

subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Read more: The Globe and Mail »

Corona has solved it already. Houses down 50-90% when people can buy.

Dimon says JPMorgan may suspend 2020 dividend over coronavirus crisisThe bank could look at the dividend if the GDP were to fall by as much as 35 per cent in the second quarter and unemployment rate were to plunge further to 14 per cent, the CEO wrote to shareholders globebusiness Kick the shareholder where it hurts. globebusiness Why is this man no in jail for few decades. He was one of the worse who caused 2008 crash. What does it tell you about America. It is mafia state.

‘Everyone is dying alone’: Italy’s coronavirus crisis taking double toll on familiesThe coronavirus pandemic has claimed more victims in Italy than any other country, and more than 45,000 worldwide. Global, Give it another 2 weeks you will have the same shit happen in Canada Confused Ghost

UN chief calls for action to address ‘horrifying surge’ in domestic violence during coronavirus crisisFollowing his call on March 23 for an immediate ceasefire in all armed conflicts, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was time to appeal for an end to all violence, ‘everywhere, now’ Forced narrative! Please stop.

U.S., Britain brace for wave of deaths as coronavirus crisis deepensThe United States and Britain braced for one of their darkest weeks in living memory on Monday as the social and financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic deepened. It will be less than a bad flu year. Got quite a ways to go before we top the casualties of WWII

U.K. PM Boris Johnson moved to ICU as coronavirus symptoms worsenBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care unit of hospital after coronavirus symptoms worsen. Praying for a complete recovery for him. CTVToronto You know IRRESPECTIVE of your political views. Some of the responses I see here are disgusting. This man has a child on the way. NO ONE deserves to be talked to like this. It shakes me that I live with citizens like this. Prayers for him & his family That’s convenient for the corrupt UN controlled European Union now isn’t it?

Marianne Faithfull in hospital with coronavirus and 'stable'The English singer-songwriter Marianne Faithfull is being treated for coronavirus in a London hospital. who? No, sorry, I refuse to permit this.