Hous­ing cri­sis has his­tory

Bet­terTO event to ex­plain root of prob­lems, of­fer fresh view

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - TORONTO - David hains Metro | toronto

The more Phill Men­donca-Vieira thought about Toronto’s hous­ing cri­sis, the more ques­tions he had.

Was so­cial hous­ing al­ways this bad? When did the city ba­si­cally stop build­ing new af­ford­able units? How did it build so much in the first place?

“So­ci­ety’s views on hous­ing have changed,” Men­donca-Vieira con­cluded. Un­der­stand­ing that shift, he felt, could give us bet­ter in­sight into cur­rent is­sues. An event was in or­der.

The web de­vel­oper cre­ated Bet­terTO along­side Shaker Ja­mal to dis­cuss lo­cal is­sues and ideas that de­serve more at­ten­tion — though he’s pas­sion­ate about hous­ing in par­tic­u­lar. Their first event in March looked at the broader hous­ing cri­sis and was well at­tended.

Now Men­donca-Vieira and Ja­mal are fo­cus­ing on so­cial hous­ing.

Toronto Com­mu­nity Hous­ing faces a dual chal­lenge — a recordlength wait­ing list and bil­lions in un­funded but crit­i­cal re­pairs over the next 10 years — with no im­mi­nent res­o­lu­tion. Thou­sands of Toronto’s most vul­ner­a­ble ten­ants could be evicted within a few years.

A Brief His­tory of the Toronto Hous­ing Cri­sis takes place Wed­nes­day evening. More than 1,300 peo­ple on Face­book have ex­pressed in­ter­est in at­tend­ing.

The Welles­ley Institute’s Greg Sut­tor will be a pan­el­list at the event. He au­thored the 2016 book Still Ren­o­vat­ing: A His­tory of Cana­dian So­cial Hous­ing Pol­icy, a com­pre­hen­sive look at how hous­ing has changed in the post-Sec­ond World War era.

Sut­tor ar­gues that some res­i­dents take hous­ing poli­cies for granted as mar­ket re­al­i­ties, but they in­cen­tivize dif­fer­ent types of hous­ing: con­dos, rental units, de­tached homes.

With the event Wed­nes­day, he hopes to demon­strate that things can be done dif­fer­ently.

“Hope­fully we can ex­pand our hori­zons,” he said. Shin­ful be­hav­iour

Cour­tesy An­drew Louis

Phill Men­donça-Vieira and Shaker Ja­mal started Bet­terTO.ca to host quar­terly events about city is­sues that de­serve more at­ten­tion.

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