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Ontario announces $657M investment to social housing

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Aug 25th, 2017

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Mayor John Tory and Housing Minister Peter Milczyn announce provincial investment in social housing, Aug. 24, 2017. CITYNEWS
The province has announced a multi-million dollar investment in social housing.

Ontario is putting up to $657 million over five years toward social housing repairs and retrofits, with about half of the money going to Toronto.

Mayor John Tory said it’s money the city badly needs and these new funds will allow the city to upgrade both the living conditions and the well-being of those who live in social housing.

“Fundamentally, it is about a basic standard of living for some of our most vulnerable citizens. That’s what it’s been about since the beginning of the discussions,” Tory said on Thursday.

“Living in a properly repaired home, having a safe place to raise your family, feeling safe in your community, [and] feeling that your governments, plural, are showing you respect as a fellow citizen.”

Coun. Ana Bailão, Toronto’s housing advocate, said she welcomes the province’s efforts to be a part of the solution to the social housing repair crisis.

“This investment is an important step forward for the province in recognizing their key role in funding the repair and revitalization of social housing in Toronto”, Bailão said in a statement on Thursday.

“I welcome the province’s efforts to step-up and be part of the solution to the repair crisis in social housing. I look forward to working with Minister Milczyn in ensuring this program provides the necessary flexibility to directly respond to Toronto Community Housing’s urgent repair needs.”

Housing Minister Peter Milczyn said the money will come from cap-and-trade auction proceeds, which must be used for green programs.

“To keep people at the core of the decisions that we make as governments, we have to think in the long term. We have to invest in the long-term and we have to work together over the long term to deliver for the people of Ontario,” he said.

Tory has long been advocating for the need for more social housing money from the province, saying there is an approximately $2-billion repair backlog.

Tory said the housing minister was “off to a great start.”

“What we’re hearing today is good news for Toronto. I believe this announcement represents a strong indication that this premier – the premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne – this minister – Peter Milczyn – and this Ontario government has stepped forward on housing, especially as it regards the most vulnerable residents of Toronto Community Housing.”

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