Toronto housing board still in charge

Toronto Community Housing board still in place, for now
City Council to discuss TCH board at special meeting Wed
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier March eighth. Update here.)

Councillor Doug Ford wants remaining board members to step down. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

The remaining members of Toronto Community Housing’s embattled board are staying put despite Mayor Rob Ford’s calls for their resignations.
The issue was expected to be the heated topic today at city hall, but  while politicians voted unanimously to move the issue to the top of the agenda, the mayor failed to get the votes needed to debate it without having the issue sent to Executive Committee first.
The controversy stems from scathing reports from the city’s auditor general which said the housing corp. could have saved between $4-10 million if there was increased competition for contracts and shone the spotlight on inappropriate staff expenses ranging from planning meetings at spas to lavish Christmas parties. Meanwhile the city-owned housing corp. has a state of good repair backlog of over $300 million.
While the auditor didn’t call for a clean house of the current board the mayor has. The board chair David Mitchell plus eight other members resigned at the mayor’s request but councillors Maria Augimeri and Raymond Cho and tenant reps Catherine Wilkinson and Dan King remain.
“Has (council) malfeasance on our part?” King asked. “Has the auditor general mentioned cause for our removal? If not, then we have a legitimate right to be here. Calling for our removal because they don’t like certain people is not what I call democratic.”

Councillor Doug Ford said the auditor’s reports showed a “blatant abuse of taxpayers money,” and called out the councillors who voted against debating the issue today.
“The people of Toronto have voiced their opinion. They are extremely upset over this matter and they want action. And we are trying to give them action,” Councillor Ford told the media.
Councillor Adam Vaughan said he voted against debating the issue today to allow for greater transparency and accountability.
“Until we are prepared to replace (the tenant board members), I am not prepared to take people off the board especially when the auditor’s report finds no fault and makes no accusations and finds no wrong doing on behalf of tenants (representatives),” Vaughan told the media. “If they did nothing wrong, why are we taking them off the board?”
According to Toronto Community Housing spokesperson Kyle Rooks the board is still functional even though its membership has dropped down to four.
“Until instructed by council, we continue to function as a board and organization, including moving forward with full implementation of the Auditor General report, which is our current focus,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Town Crier.
The issue will come to a special council meeting at 5:30 pm on March 9 called only 24 hours before. Initially the mayor had called a special executive meeting to deal with the issue so it could be referred back to council as soon as possible.


2 responses to “Toronto housing board still in charge

  1. The situation regarding appropriate affordable housing for the less fortunate,”The Poor”, has turned into a quest for power over the TCH. The issue here is that the city has done a poor job in maintaing those buildings that need to be repaired.
    There is so much politics and blame games going on that those who need their housing repaired are not heard and the sytem is failing them. Just the fact that the past TCH Board was playing the market with much needed funding for real housing and support needs is unacceptable. Ford’s foolish and illegal idea about privitizing TCH should have the provincial government funders seriously questioning Ford’s sanity and motives.
    Additionally it’s very important to state that it is not only city money involved here but the Province as well.
    There are over 70,000 persons on a waiting list for housing and the shelter systems are full throughout Toronto.
    The amount of money spent upon the “Homeless” alone when looking at bureacracies and community servives is astonishiong because it doesn’t solve the problems.
    The Peter Street Shelter cost about $11,000,000 for 40 beds, the offices of the shelter referral and the street to homes program. The city could have bought two apartment building for that money and housed about 500 people.
    THe TCH should not be administered by any person from Toronto counsil or business for that matter because they don’t serve the best interests of the tenants or the goal of creating more affrodable housing. There must be individuals from the community who are involved directly in providing support to the residents of TCH.
    It’s time to overhall the system and keep it from the hands of the politicians and their partners in business.
    The province needs to hold the City of Toronto resposible for the well-being of those who need housing and those that live in TCH housing and that means both financilly and morally.
    Wake-up people! Write or e-mail the Provincial Ministries involved and your local MPP as well as the media.

  2. Mayor Ford had called a special Exec meeting for tomorrow but that was cancelled and an emergency City Council session will be convened instead for Wed night. Some councillors argued they voted today not to discuss it and refer to Exec Committee where it would normally go first and then back to council in April. Instead the issue will be debated tomorrow night.
    As well, Councillor Pam McConnell argues the city’s shareholders agreement with Toronto Community Housing requires 6 weeks written notice to the board of any amendments. City legal told her they don’t agree.
    The proposal is to replace the remaining 4 board members with one interim managing director and speculation is that’s former councillor and the mayor’s friend Case Ootes. I will report back on this tonight. And of course post another story based on what happens tomorrow.

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