Item - 2019.PH1.2

Tracking Status

  • City Council adopted this item on January 30, 2019 with amendments.
  • This item was considered by Planning and Housing Committee on January 22, 2019. It is being forwarded to City Council without recommendations. It will be considered by City Council on January 30, 2019.

PH1.2 - Declaring Torontoís Homelessness and Housing Crisis a State of Emergency

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

City Council Decision

City Council on January 30 and 31, 2019, adopted the following:

 

1. City Council direct the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, and the Director, Affordable Housing Office, to convene an urgent  meeting with key supportive housing providers to identify short and medium-term actions to increase supportive housing options to immediately assist people to exit homelessness.

 

2. City Council request the Federal and Provincial Governments, as part of their 2019 Budgets, to commit to capital and operating funding to support the creation of 1,800 new units of supportive housing annually, in order to reduce homelessness in Toronto.

City Council Decision Advice and Other Information

City Council considered Items PH1.2 and MM2.9, together.

Background Information (Committee)

(January 20, 2019) Letter from Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 13, Toronto Centre and Councillor Gord Perks, Ward 4, Parkdale-High Park on Declaring Torontoís Homelessness and Housing Crisis a State of Emergency
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2019/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-123785.pdf

Background Information (City Council)

(January 28, 2019) Supplementary report from the City Solicitor on Declarations and Affirmations respecting Homelessness and Housing (PH1.2a)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2019/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-124111.pdf
(January 29, 2019) Supplementary report from the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration on Update and Options to Enhance Homeless Services (PH1.2b)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2019/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-124112.pdf

Communications (Committee)

(January 22, 2019) Letter from Paul Dowling - Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (PH.New.1.02.01)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2019/ph/comm/communicationfile-88906.pdf

Communications (City Council)

(January 28, 2019) Submission from Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 13 Toronto Centre - Materials from the United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Council (CC.Supp.PH1.2.2)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2019/cc/comm/communicationfile-89025.pdf
(January 30, 2019) Submission from Bruce Porter, Executive Director, Social Rights Advocacy Centre, submitted by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 13 Toronto Centre (CC.New.PH1.2.3)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2019/cc/comm/communicationfile-89108.pdf
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Wong-Tam, Ward 13, Toronto Centre, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing", containing the names of approximately 5,132 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Layton, Ward 11, University-Rosedale, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing", containing the names of approximately 1,191 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Ainslie, Ward 24, Scarborough-Guildwood, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing", containing the names of approximately 162 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Colle, Ward 8, Eglinton-Lawrence, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing", containing the names of approximately 377 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Matlow, Ward 12, Toronto-St. Paul's, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing", containing the names of approximately 815 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Perks, Ward 4, Parkdale-High Park, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing", containing the names of approximately 1,690 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Filion, Ward 18, Willowdale, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing, containing the names of approximately 181 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Cressy, Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing", containing the names of approximately 596 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Bradford, Ward 19, Beaches-East York, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing", containing the names of approximately 688 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)
(January 30, 2019) Petition from Councillor Fletcher, Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth, headed "Calling on the Mayor and City Council to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and Housing", containing the names of approximately 862 persons, filed during the Routine Matters portion of the meeting (CC.New)

Motions (City Council)

1 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Lost)

That:

 

1. City Council declare homelessness a human rights disaster akin to a municipal emergency.

 

2. City Council affirm housing as a human right and our commitment to take appropriate measures to address homelessness as a human rights crisis.

 

3. City Council request the Provincial Government to apply to the Federal Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (known as Public Safety Canada) to establish an intergovernmental table to address housing and homelessness in Toronto with the following terms of reference:

 

a. establish a formal table with Provincial and Federal ministers to meet with the Mayor, City Manager, and appropriate senior City Staff to determine a work plan and 6-month strategy development framework in no less than 30 days;

 

b. identify the unaddressed low-income housing support gaps, including those of mental health and addictions, that may contribute to homelessness in Toronto; and

 

c. establish what programs, supports, and services can be provided by the appropriate levels of government to prevent homelessness upstream and provide the current population with accessible options for dignified, supportive housing.

Vote (Amend Item) Jan-30-2019 5:33 PM

Result: Lost Majority Required - PH1.2 - Wong-Tam - motion 1 Part 1 only
Total members that voted Yes: 7 Members that voted Yes are Shelley Carroll, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Gord Perks, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 18 Members that voted No are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Mike Colle, Gary Crawford, Michael Ford, Mark Grimes, Stephen Holyday, Jim Karygiannis, Cynthia Lai, Jennifer McKelvie, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, Michael Thompson, John Tory
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Paula Fletcher

Vote (Amend Item) Jan-30-2019 5:34 PM

Result: Lost Majority Required - PH1.2 - Wong-Tam - motion 1 Part 2 only
Total members that voted Yes: 11 Members that voted Yes are Ana Bail„o, Shelley Carroll, Gary Crawford, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Jim Karygiannis, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 14 Members that voted No are Paul Ainslie, Brad Bradford, Mike Colle, Michael Ford, Mark Grimes, Stephen Holyday, Cynthia Lai, Jennifer McKelvie, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Jaye Robinson, Michael Thompson, John Tory
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Paula Fletcher

Vote (Amend Item) Jan-30-2019 5:35 PM

Result: Lost Majority Required - PH1.2 - Wong-Tam - motion 1 Part 3a only
Total members that voted Yes: 9 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Shelley Carroll, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Gord Perks, John Tory, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 16 Members that voted No are Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Mike Colle, Gary Crawford, Michael Ford, Mark Grimes, Stephen Holyday, Jim Karygiannis, Cynthia Lai, Jennifer McKelvie, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, Michael Thompson
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Paula Fletcher

Vote (Amend Item) Jan-30-2019 5:37 PM

Result: Carried Majority Required - PH1.2 - Wong-Tam - motion 1 Part 3b only
Total members that voted Yes: 18 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Shelley Carroll, Gary Crawford, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Mark Grimes, Cynthia Lai, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Jennifer McKelvie, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, John Tory, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 7 Members that voted No are Brad Bradford, Mike Colle, Michael Ford, Stephen Holyday, Jim Karygiannis, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Michael Thompson
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Paula Fletcher

2a - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Ana Bail„o (Carried)

That City Council adopt the following recommendations contained in the supplementary report (January 29, 2019) from the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration [PH1.2b]:

 

1. City Council direct the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, and the Director, Affordable Housing Office, to convene an urgent  meeting with key supportive housing providers to identify short and medium-term actions to increase supportive housing options to immediately assist people to exit homelessness.

 

2. City Council request the federal and provincial governments, as part of their 2019 Budgets, to commit to capital and operating funding to support the creation of 1,800 new units of supportive housing annually, in order to reduce homelessness in Toronto.

Vote (Amend Item) Jan-30-2019 5:46 PM

Result: Carried Majority Required - PH2.1 - Bailao - motion 2a
Total members that voted Yes: 25 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Shelley Carroll, Mike Colle, Gary Crawford, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Michael Ford, Mark Grimes, Stephen Holyday, Jim Karygiannis, Cynthia Lai, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Jennifer McKelvie, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, Michael Thompson, John Tory, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 0 Members that voted No are
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Paula Fletcher

Point of Order by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam

Councillor Wong-Tam, rising on a Point of Order, stated that she wished Council to vote separately on the three recommendations in her motion 1.


Point of Order by Mayor John Tory

Mayor Tory, rising on a Point of Order, stated that he wished Council to sub-divide Part 3 and vote separately on parts a, b and c in motion 1 by Councillor Wong-Tam.

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Points of Order and ruled that Council would vote on the parts of motion 1 by Councillor Wong-Tam separately.


Point of Order by Mayor John Tory

Mayor Tory, rising on a Point of Order, stated that, as he could not support the preamble of 3 but could have supported parts a, b and c, the way the vote was conducted on Part 3a was not what he had asked for.

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Order and ruled that the motion would have required an amendment first.


Point of Order by Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong

Deputy Mayor Minnan-Wong, rising on a Point of Order, stated that as the preamble to Part 3 of motion 1 by Councillor Wong-Tam had lost, how could the rest of Part 3 be voted on, as it is irrelevant.

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Order and ruled that, as Parts 3 and 3a were voted on as one and lost, Parts b and c were redundant.


Point of Order by Councillor Gord Perks

Councillor Perks, rising on a Point of Order, stated that he was following the Speaker's voting instructions and understood that the preamble to Part 3 of motion 1 by Councillor Wong-Tam would be voted on with each of 3a, 3b and 3c. Councillor Perks further stated that the Speaker had, retroactively after he voted, changed the interpretation of the Mayor's request, and his voting rights were affected.

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Order and ruled that, when the request was made to separate parts a, b, and c, that's what was done, but it was an error and it should not have been voted on in that way.


Point of Order by Councillor Gord Perks

Councillor Perks, rising on a Point of Order, stated that as an error had been made on how to vote, Council should go back and vote on the motion with the correct instructions.

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata (Upheld)
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Order and ruled that she had already made her ruling on this matter.
Challenged by Councillor Gord Perks

PH1.2 - Declaring Torontoís Homelessness and Housing Crisis a State of Emergency

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Without Recs
Wards:
All

Committee Recommendations

The Planning and Housing Committee forwards the item to City Council without recommendation.

Decision Advice and Other Information

The Planning and Housing Committee:

 

1.  Referred Recommendations 1, 2 and 3 below, to the City Manager and the City Solicitor to report directly to the January 30, 2019 City Council meeting:

 

"1.  City Council affirm its commitment to complying with its obligations under International Human Rights Law to take all appropriate measures to address homelessness as an human rights crisis.

 

2.  City Council declare homelessness a human rights disaster akin to a Municipal Emergency or a national emergency and an urgent human rights crisis, and seek assistance from the Province under the Emergency Response and Civil Protection Act.

 

3.  City Council request the Provincial government to apply to the Federal Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and alert the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and his Parliamentary Secretary, to seek the establishment of an intergovernmental table with participation of those affected and their representatives tasked with addressing the housing and homelessness crisis in Toronto, and in any other similarly affected municipalities throughout Ontario."

 

2.  Requested the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Management to report directly to the January 30, 2019 City Council meeting on immediate steps to augment services for homeless individuals and activate the assistance of community organizations such as the Red Cross. 

 

3.  Referred Recommendation 4 below, to the Mayor to convene a meeting with the parties and report to City Council on the outcome: 

 

"4.  City Council convene an emergency meeting with representatives of the federal government including the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister, the Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and persons who are homeless and precariously housed in Toronto and their representatives to develop an urgent plan of action." 

 

4.  Requested the City Manager and the City Clerk to advise each Standing Committee Chair and Member in writing with respect to the issues that fall under the mandate of each Standing Committee prior to the next agenda.

Origin

(January 20, 2019) Letter from Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 13, Toronto Centre and Councillor Gord Perks, Ward 4, Parkdale-High Park

Summary

We are just a few weeks into 2019, and already four Toronto residents, who experienced homelessness, have lost their lives on our streets. A homeless Indigenous man died in an alley. Crystal Papineau died trapped in a clothing donation bin; she was also homeless. Hang Vo was crushed by a garbage truck, as she lay sleeping in a laneway. She was 58 years old and homeless. Another young homeless woman died of an overdose in a 24-hour respite facility.

 

Housing is a human right. Toronto’s lack of deeply affordable housing, supportive and, transitional housing, mental health services, and shelter overcapacity are resulted in deadly consequences. We are facing a homelessness crisis that requires a co-ordinated emergency intergovernmental human rights based response.

 

Frontline housing workers are reporting a dramatic new wave of homelessness and under housing. Tenants have reported that they are being displaced from their homes by so-called “renovictions” where landlords fueled by a 1.1 percent Toronto rental vacancy rate and all-time high rents, illegally evict their tenants under the claim that they are “renovating” the units and do not offer or honour any right of return. It is also reported that 6500 listings on the “home sharing” app, Airbnb, are listed in contradiction to Toronto’s new short-term rental regulations (currently under appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal).

 

In 2018, there are approximately 181,000 people on Toronto’s Centralized Waiting List, managed by Access to Housing. Applications are chronologically added to the Centralized Waiting List by their date of application and clients are served on a first-come, first-served basis, and applicants with the older application dates receive an offer of housing first. An applicant can expect to wait: seven years or more for a bachelor unit, 12 years or more for a one-bedroom unit and 10 years or more for larger unit sizes.

 

Approximately 14,000 Toronto residents living with serious and persistent mental health challenges continue to wait for access to supportive housing, where the demand far outstrips supply. In a recent two-year period, over 4,000 new people applied while less than 600 were placed in supportive housing. Most applicants have long wait times. Nearly 60 percent (4,431) of applicants on the administrative database and waitlist of The Access Point, the coordinated access system for supportive housing in Toronto, had been waiting for housing for two or more years and those waiting longest (top 10 percent on the waitlist) had been waiting 4.5 years or longer.

 

Toronto’s housing crisis is so dire, that disaster relief structures being put into use are not enough and we require an emergency response from all levels of government. The City has the capacity to shelter over 7,000 people, and yet we are far from meeting the need. Toronto Public Health recorded 145 deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness, from January 1, 2017 to June 30th 2018.  It is time to declare homelessness a crisis and bring all available emergency housing resources to bear, to preserve the sanctity of human life, and prevent further suffering.

 

The Province of Ontario Emergency Response Plan defines an emergency as “… a situation, or impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property or other health risk”. It goes on to say that “These situations could threaten public safety, public health, the environment, property, critical infrastructure and economic stability”. It is clear to us that Toronto’s situation meets several of these criteria.

 

The Government of Canada’s Emergency Management Act states that “A government institution may not respond to a provincial emergency unless the government of the province requests assistance or there is an agreement with the province that requires or permits the assistance”.

 

It is imperative that we, as a Municipal government, declare that homelessness is a humanitarian crisis, which we do not possess the resources to manage alone in Toronto. We must call on the Provincial government to assist us. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is tasked with this response, under the Emergency Response and Civil Protection Act. Should the Province also find itself without the resources to adequately contain the crisis, a Provincial Emergency should be declared so that the resources of the Federal Government may be brought to bear.

Background Information

(January 20, 2019) Letter from Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 13, Toronto Centre and Councillor Gord Perks, Ward 4, Parkdale-High Park on Declaring Torontoís Homelessness and Housing Crisis a State of Emergency
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2019/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-123785.pdf

Communications

(January 22, 2019) Letter from Paul Dowling - Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (PH.New.1.02.01)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2019/ph/comm/communicationfile-88906.pdf

Speakers

Miguel Avila
Rafi Aaron, The Interfaith Coalition to Fight Homelessness
Ann Lapenna
Cathy Crowe, Shelter and Housing Justice Network
A.J. Withers, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Adam Vaughan, Member of Parliament
Rita Debiasi

Motions

1 - Motion to Add New Business at Committee moved by Councillor Ana Bail„o (Carried)

2 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Ana Bail„o (Carried)

That:

 

1.  Recommendations 1, 2 and 3 be referred to the City Manager and the City Solicitor to report directly to the January 30, 2019 City Council meeting.

 

2.  Recommendation 4 be referred to the Mayor to convene a meeting with the parties and report to City Council on the outcome.

 

3.  Recommendation 5 be replaced with:

 

"Request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Management to report directly to the January 30, 2019 City Council meeting on immediate steps to augment services for homeless individuals and activate the assistance of community organizations such as the Red Cross."

 

4.  The following Recommendation be added:

 

"Request the City Manager and the City Clerk to advise each Standing Committee Chair and Member in writing with respect to the issues that fall under the mandate of each Standing Committee prior to the next agenda."

Vote (Amend Item) Jan-22-2019

Result: Carried Majority Required - Part 1 of Motion 2 by Councillor Ana Bail„o
Total members that voted Yes: 5 Members that voted Yes are Ana Bail„o (Chair), Brad Bradford, Paula Fletcher, Gord Perks, Jaye Robinson
Total members that voted No: 1 Members that voted No are Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that were Absent: 0 Members that were absent are

Vote (Amend Item) Jan-22-2019

Result: Carried Majority Required - Parts 2, 3, 4 of Motion 2 by Councillor Ana Bail„o
Total members that voted Yes: 6 Members that voted Yes are Ana Bail„o (Chair), Brad Bradford, Paula Fletcher, Gord Perks, Jaye Robinson, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 0 Members that voted No are
Total members that were Absent: 0 Members that were absent are
Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council