Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomeCANADAUnlike Other Candidates, My Housing Plan Is Funded And Realistic: Mitzie Hunter

Unlike Other Candidates, My Housing Plan Is Funded And Realistic: Mitzie Hunter

Mitzie Hunter, mayoral candidate, is offering a public option to deliver more new affordable housing, more quickly, while other candidates are either offering a failed developer-first status quo approach or a public option that is not funded.

Mark Saunders, Brad Bradford and Ana Bailao are offering a status quo, developer-first approach that you know, and even they know, has failed. Since its creation in 2019, Housing Now has delivered precisely zero new housing units. 

While Josh Matlow and Olivia Chow offer public options, Matlow needs to cancel the Gardiner Expressway rebuild to fund his proposal, and Chow’s depends on a federal program for which it is ineligible. Neither of their plans has a realistic chance of happening.

“What’s on offer in this byelection is a developer-first approach that has failed, and two other public options that are unfunded and require magical thinking to believe they will work,” says Hunter.

 “My plan is the only one that is doable and viable, building more affordable housing units for renters and buyers alike in family-friendly buildings that can fit into every part of the city.”

Hunter will create a new city agency called the Toronto Affordable Housing Corporation (TAHC) charged with building thousands of purpose-built, below-market rate rental apartments and affordable ownership units on unlocked city-owned land.

“We are in a housing crisis and that’s why we need to unlock public lands for affordable housing,” says Hunter. 

“We need to do things differently. We need to Fix the Six. That means we need more affordable housing, more quickly. It starts with leveraging City properties to develop as much affordable housing as possible. We can drive the delivery of affordable homes for real results.”

In its first phase, the new Toronto Affordable Housing Corporation (TAHC) will:

  • Build 108 new developments on City owned land. These will be between 10 and 20 storeys and be suitable for small and medium sized lots in every part of the city. Other candidates’ proposals rely on massive buildings of 40 storeys or more.
  • Deliver nearly 22,700 units providing housing for approximately 53,650 people.

o   16,556 of these units will be purpose built rental units. 

o   Unlike every other candidate’s proposal, the majority of these – 68 per cent — will be affordable units with rents at or below the Average Market Rent (AMR) reported by the CMHC.

o   In total there will be 11,236 affordable rental apartments. This is the most of any candidate.

o   5,660 units will be offered at AMR. 

o   3,468 units will be offered at 80 per cent of AMR.

o   2,108 units will be set at 40 per cent of AMR.

o   34 per cent of all rental units will be below AMR which is the highest share of any candidate.

  • The minority of all units will be market rental units. These 5,320 units will be subject to annual rent control limits, and remain in public hands. 
  • Unlike any other candidate proposal, the TAHC will also help make home ownership more affordable. Every building will include affordable ownership units. 
  • TAHC will offer 6,136 “shared equity” units or 27 per cent of all units. 
  • Shared equity units will be sold at 50 per cent of market value with 50 per cent retained by the TAHC. 
  • When a unit is re-sold, 50 per cent of the appreciated value is retained by the TAHC to reinvest in future projects. 
  • The TAHC buildings will also be the most family friendly of any candidate’s proposal.  More than 55 per cent of all units are two and three bedrooms. Other proposals have no more than 40 per cent. 
  • All TAHC building will include on-site retail and on-site community space for satellite libraries and public health offices and childcare for larger developments. 
  • A total of 17 acres of new public parks and greenspace across 68 TAHC developments will be created.
  • The City will provide 10 per cent of the cost of each development with the balance funded by CMHC provided mortgages.
  • The City will also provide contingency operating funds for each project during construction.
  • City funding will come equally from reserves such as the City Building Fund and the operating budget.
  • The City’s net cost over the first two years will be $166 Million.
  • Rent from residential and retail tenants, maintenance fees and the proceeds from the sale of Shared Equity units will cover all operating and financing expenses. 
  • By the end of Phase 1 total earnings will have been greater than the original City contributions and the amount financed from CMHC.
  • The TAHC will use its surplus revenue to fund further Phases to build more affordable housing projects on an on-going basis.

In developing her plan, Hunter drew on her experience as CAO of Toronto Community Housing prior to being MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood and a senior cabinet minister.

“We are in a housing crisis,” says Hunter. “Buying a home in Toronto is now out of reach for all but the wealthiest. We need to fix this”.

“But that won’t happen with the same faces from the same places, unsuccessfully doing the same things they have always done, with a disappointing lack of results for the people of this city”. 

Other candidates continue the failed status quo, developer-first approach. Others propose publicly owned buildings that are all too big for most neighbourhoods. The majority of units created by other proposals are either market rentals or unaffordable condos. The majority of other proposals are one-bedroom units not fit for families and nobody else offers anything to people looking to buy an affordable home. 

Other candidates are presenting public models that are unfunded and require magical thinking to believe they would ever come about. Josh Matlow relies on re-directing funds dedicated to the Gardiner East rebuild but as recently as last month this Council voted to continue with the project. It is simply foolish to believe that a Mayor Matlow – or a Mayor Chow, who also relies on stopping this project to fund her proposals – will get the support of this Council for their plans.

At the Second Harvest debate, Olivia Chow admitted her “better than nothing” plan was really only a commitment for 10,000 units – not the 25,000 she claims – because it relies on funding that her proposal does not qualify for.

At the Toronto Star/TMU/United Way debate, Olivia Chow claimed – falsely – that other candidates also rely on the same CMHC funding as her plan. This is not the case for the TAHC proposed by Mitzie Hunter. Oliva Chow’s plan needs almost $350 million from the Federal Housing Accelerator Fund, but her plan does not meet the eligibility requirements. As with her magical-thinking belief that the federal government will “come to the table” to fund the rest of her platform, the reality is that Chow’s funding rests upon mirages.

In contrast, Hunter’s plan builds more affordable housing units, for renters and buyers alike, than any other plan, in family-friendly buildings that can fit into every part of the city.

“The only way out of this mess is to add more affordable housing to meet demand and lower price escalation for renters and buyers alike,” says Hunter. “My plan does this.”

Hunter’s housing plan is the most detailed, practical and comprehensive plan issued by any mayoral candidate. It is fully costed and funded and detailed in her platform released 10 days ago. And unlike other plans, the funding it uses is available and clearly identified in her detailed platform and costing.

“We can do this, we must do it, and if we are to have a city that works for everyone, everywhere, we must grow the supply of affordable housing for both renters and buyers. Let’s grab control of the levers as a city and get it done.”

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