Item - 2020.PH19.11

Tracking Status

  • City Council adopted this item on December 16, 2020 with amendments.
  • This item was considered by Planning and Housing Committee on December 8, 2020. It is being forwarded to City Council without recommendations. It will be considered by City Council on December 16, 2020.

PH19.11 - Emergency Housing Action

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

City Council Decision

City Council on December 16, 17 and 18, 2020, adopted the following:

 

Intergovernmental Considerations

 

1. City Council thank the Federal and Provincial Governments for already committing operating funding that the City will use to create 150 new supportive homes in 2021, and re-iterate its request that the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada provide $48 million in annual ongoing operating funding to create and maintain 2,000 new supportive housing opportunities for vulnerable and marginalized individuals experiencing homelessness, with $14 million per year starting in September 2021 (and ongoing annually) to operationalize 588 affordable rental homes, and $12.24 million per year required immediately for 2021 (and ongoing annually) to operationalize 510  additional homes.

 

2. City Council request the City Manager to establish a Housing and Homelessness Action Table with representation from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Health Quality Ontario, Ontario Health Toronto Region, Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network, The Access Point, the United Way, the University Health Network, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre and the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness for the purpose of developing a comprehensive plan and aligned funding approach, to help people experiencing homelessness access and maintain housing and supports.

 

3. City Council request the Federal Government to expand the Rapid Housing Initiative and enhance the eligibility criteria to include all types of construction, acquisition of residential properties that are at risk of being lost due to sales or conversions, and administrative costs plus longer project delivery timelines.

 

4. City Council request the Federal Government to support the operating costs of affordable housing, in addition to provincial investments, by increasing the Reaching Home program by approximately $300 million per year nationally and accelerating the amount of portable housing benefits.

 

Financial Approval Considerations

 

5. City Council approve up to $47 million (net $0) fully funded the 10-Year Capital Plan and cash flowed in 2021 to be used to secure real estate interests suitable for creating new affordable rental housing, including related pre-development, renovation and/or construction costs (e.g. planning, communications, environmental site assessments, cost consultant reports, permits, architectural or engineering reports, appraisals, legal/closing costs related to acquisition and/or leasing of land and buildings, remediation, construction, renovation) and all other costs required create affordable housing, in each instance on terms satisfactory to the Executive Director, Housing Secretaria, and the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management, in consultation with the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration.

 

6. City Council delegate approval and signing authority to the City Manager or a Deputy City Manager designated by the City Manager for the acquisition or lease of property for housing purposes, provided the total compensation for each property acquisition or lease does not exceed $15 million, and subject to compliance with the General Conditions set out in Appendix B of City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 213, Real Property, with such delegated authority to remain in effect until June 30, 2021.

 

7. City Council direct the City Manager or designate to report to the appropriate standing committee in fall 2021 on the exercise of any delegated authority in Part 6 above.

 

8. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, as appropriate, to enter into agreements or other suitable arrangements with City divisions, agencies, the Government of Ontario and/or its agencies/corporations, the Government of Canada and/or its agencies/corporations, health care partners, community agencies, private entities and/or individuals to allocate funding and deliver new affordable rental housing that are part of the City's 24-Month Housing and Homelessness Plan.

 

9. City Council exempt up to 83 of the 510 affordable rental homes to be developed from development charges, planning and permit fees and parkland dedication fees.

 

10. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management, to administer and manage all transactions in consultation with the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, including the provision of any consents, approvals, waivers, and notices, provided that they may, at any time, refer consideration of any such matters (including their content) to City Council for consideration and direction.

 

11. City Council authorize the Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services (and for required legal services, the City Solicitor) to negotiate and enter into any necessary non-competitive agreements, including those with a value exceeding $500,000 for which City Council approval would normally be required under City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 195, Purchasing, for the provision of construction and professional services needed to complete the acquisition of suitable real estate interests and to carry out any necessary pre-development, pre-construction, construction, renovation or conversion of properties for the development of affordable housing, provided that:

 

a. non-competitive procurement is necessary to meet the timelines of the Rapid Housing Initiative and the 8-12 week timeline outlined in this report;

 

b. the costs are eligible for and will be funded through the federal Rapid Housing Initiative and re-allocated Shelter, Support and Housing Administration Capital Budget; and

 

c. the terms and conditions of any such agreements are acceptable to the Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services and in a form satisfactory to the City Solicitor.

 

Expediting Implementation of Affordable Supportive Housing

 

12. City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, to further expedite efforts to allocate and prepare vacant units to provide permanent housing for individuals and families to exit homelessness as outlined in the supplementary report (December 17, 2020) from the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat.

 

13. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to work with the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness and Indigenous partners to engage the non-profit sector and select suitable operators, subject to operating funding,  to operate the all new affordable homes prior to occupancy, through a non-competitive process for an initial two-year term (prioritizing those with operating funding and extensive supportive housing management experience), and subsequently conduct a competitive process to select operators for longer term operation of the properties.

 

14. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management, in consultation with the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, to negotiate, approve and execute, on behalf of the City, below market and/or nominal rent leases for up to three (3) years, together with any ancillary agreements, with each of the non-profit operators chosen pursuant to Part 13 above, for the five (5) sites to be acquired pursuant to the supplementary report (December 17, 2020) from the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, on terms and conditions acceptable to the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, and in a form satisfactory to the City Solicitor.

 

15. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat to negotiate and execute on behalf of the City, Municipal Housing Facility Agreements (the City's "Contribution Agreement") with the non-profit housing providers selected through the processes referred to in Part 14 above, or a related corporation, to secure the financial assistance being provided and to set out the terms of the operation of the new affordable rental housing, on terms and conditions satisfactory to the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and in a form approved by the City Solicitor.

 

16. City Council request the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, in consultation with the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management and the Chief Building Official and Executive Director, Toronto Building, to prioritize the review of sites identified as suitable for leases, acquisitions, construction and renovations, and the future conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing, and identify ways to expedite the necessary building and planning approvals.

 

17. City Council authorize the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to negotiate and enter into any agreements with the non-profits housing providers selected, for any operating funding that may be available, including, but not limited to rent supplement or grant funding agreements, on terms and conditions agreed to by the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and in a form approved by the City Solicitor.

 

18. City Council direct General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, and the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, to ensure that access plans and referral pathways for new supportive affordable housing opportunities with appropriate supports, are established to prioritize people exiting chronic homelessness and in alignment with the City's Coordinated Access to Housing and Supports system.

 

19. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer to execute, on behalf of the City, any security or financing documents required by the non-profit housing providers, including any postponement, confirmation of status, discharge or consent documents where and when required during the term of the Municipal Housing Facility Agreement, as required by normal business practices, and provided that such documents do not give rise to financial obligations on the part of the City that have not been previously approved by City Council.

 

20. City Council request the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, in consultation with the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to inform local Councillors in advance of any property addresses being publicly released, and to work with local Councillors on communication, and community engagement where possible, prior to occupancy.

 

21. City Council direct the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, in consultation with appropriate staff, to continue to seek vacant hotel and apartment units until every person in Toronto in need of accommodation has been offered housing.

Background Information (Committee)

(December 7, 2020) Letter from Councillor Gord Perks, Councillor Paula Fletcher, Councillor Brad Bradford, Councillor Jennifer McKelvie, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Councillor Ana Bailao on Emergency Housing Action
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-159239.pdf

Background Information (City Council)

(December 17, 2020) Supplementary report from the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat on 24-Month COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Response Plan - Update (PH19.11a)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-159533.pdf
Attachment 1 - Update on the Ongoing COVID-19 Emergency Shelter Response
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-159534.pdf

Communications (City Council)

(December 18, 2020) Letter from Kira Heineck, Executive Director, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (CC.New.PH19.11.1)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/cc/comm/communicationfile-125044.pdf

Motions (City Council)

1 - Motion to Adopt Item as Amended moved by Councillor Ana Bail„o (Carried)

That City Council adopt the following recommendations in the supplementary report (December 17, 2020) from the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat [PH19.11a]:

 

Intergovernmental Considerations

 

1. City Council thank the federal and provincial governments for already committing operating funding that the City will use to create 150 new supportive homes in 2021, and re-iterate its request that the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada provide $48 million in annual ongoing operating funding to create and maintain 2,000 new supportive housing opportunities for vulnerable and marginalized individuals experiencing homelessness, with $14 million per year starting in September 2021 (and ongoing annually) to operationalize 588 affordable rental homes, and $12.24 million per year required immediately for 2021 (and ongoing annually) to operationalize 510  additional homes.

 

2. City Council request the City Manager establish a Housing and Homelessness Action Table with representation from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Health Quality Ontario, Ontario Health Toronto Region, Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network, The Access Point, the United Way, the University Health Network, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre and the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness for the purpose of developing a comprehensive plan and aligned funding approach, to help people experiencing homelessness access and maintain housing and supports.

 

3. City Council request the federal government to expand the Rapid Housing Initiative and enhance the eligibility criteria to include: all types of construction; acquisition of residential properties that are at risk of being lost due to sales or conversions; administrative costs; plus longer project delivery timelines.

 

4. City Council request that the federal government support the operating costs of affordable housing, in addition to provincial investments, by increasing the Reaching Home program by approximately $300 million per year nationally and accelerating the amount of portable housing benefits.

 

Financial Approval Considerations

 

5. City Council approve up to $47 million (net $0) fully funded the 10-Year Capital Plan and cash flowed in 2021 to be used to secure real estate interests suitable for creating new affordable rental housing, including related pre-development, renovation and/or construction costs (e.g. planning, communications, environmental site assessments, cost consultant reports, permits, architectural or engineering reports, appraisals, legal/closing costs related to acquisition and/or leasing of land and buildings, remediation, construction, renovation) and all other costs required create affordable housing, in each instance on terms satisfactory to the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, and the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management, in consultation with the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration.

 

6. City Council delegate approval and signing authority to the City Manager or a Deputy City Manager designated by the City Manager for the acquisition or lease of property for housing purposes, provided the total compensation for each property acquisition or lease does not exceed $15 million, and subject to compliance with the General Conditions set out in Appendix B of City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 213, Real Property, with such delegated authority to remain in effect until June 30, 2021.

 

7. City Council direct the City Manager or designate to report to the appropriate standing committee in fall 2021 on the exercise of any delegated authority in Recommendation 6 above.

 

8. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, as appropriate, to enter into agreements or other suitable arrangements with City divisions, agencies, the Government of Ontario and/or its agencies/corporations, the Government of Canada and/or its agencies/corporations, health care partners, community agencies, private entities and/or individuals to allocate funding and deliver new affordable rental housing that are part of the City's 24-Month Housing and Homelessness Plan.

 

9. City Council exempt up to 83 of the 510 affordable rental homes to be developed from development charges, planning and permit fees and parkland dedication fees.

 

10. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management, to administer and manage all transactions in consultation with the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, including the provision of any consents, approvals, waivers, and notices, provided that they may, at any time, refer consideration of any such matters (including their content) to City Council for consideration and direction.

 

11. City Council authorize the Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services (and for required legal services, the City Solicitor) to negotiate and enter into any necessary non-competitive agreements, including those with a value exceeding $500,000 for which Council approval would normally be required under City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 195, Purchasing, for the provision of construction and professional services needed to complete the acquisition of suitable real estate interests and to carry out any necessary pre-development, pre-construction, construction, renovation or conversion of properties for the development of affordable housing, provided that:

 

a. non-competitive procurement is necessary to meet the timelines of the Rapid Housing Initiative and the 8-12 week timeline outlined in this report;

 

b. the costs are eligible for and will be funded through the federal Rapid Housing Initiative and re-allocated Shelter, Support and Housing Administration Capital Budget; and

 

c. the terms and conditions of any such agreements are acceptable to the Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services and in a form satisfactory to the City Solicitor.

 

Expediting Implementation of Affordable Supportive Housing

 

12. City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, to further expedite efforts to allocate and prepare vacant units to provide permanent housing for individuals and families to exit homelessness as outlined in this report.

 

13. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to work with the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness and Indigenous partners to engage the non-profit sector and select suitable operators, subject to operating funding,  to operate the all new affordable homes prior to occupancy, through a non-competitive process for an initial two-year term (prioritizing those with operating funding and extensive supportive housing management experience), and subsequently conduct a competitive process to select operators for longer term operation of the properties.

 

14. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management, in consultation with the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, to negotiate, approve and execute, on behalf of the City, below market and/or nominal rent leases for up to three (3) years, together with any ancillary agreements, with each of the non-profit operators chosen pursuant to Recommendation 13, for the five (5) sites to be acquired pursuant to this report, on terms and conditions acceptable to the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, and in a form satisfactory to the City Solicitor.

 

15. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat to negotiate and execute on behalf of the City, municipal housing facility agreements (the City's "Contribution Agreement") with the non-profit housing providers selected through the processes referred to in Recommendation 14 above, or a related corporation, to secure the financial assistance being provided and to set out the terms of the operation of the new affordable rental housing, on terms and conditions satisfactory to the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and in a form approved by the City Solicitor.

 

16. City Council request the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, in consultation with the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management and the Chief Building Official and Executive Director, Toronto Building to prioritize the review of sites identified as suitable for leases, acquisitions, construction and renovations, and the future conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing, and identify ways to expedite the necessary building and planning approvals.

 

17. City Council authorize the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to negotiate and enter into any agreements with the non-profits housing providers selected, for any operating funding that may be available, including, but not limited to rent supplement or grant funding agreements, on terms and conditions agreed to by the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and in a form approved by the City Solicitor.

 

18. City Council direct General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, and the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, to ensure that access plans and referral pathways for new supportive affordable housing opportunities with appropriate supports, are established to prioritize people exiting chronic homelessness and in alignment with the City's Coordinated Access to Housing and Supports system.

 

19. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer to execute, on behalf of the City, any security or financing documents required by the non-profit housing providers, including any postponement, confirmation of status, discharge or consent documents where and when required during the term of the municipal housing facility agreement, as required by normal business practices, and provided that such documents do not give rise to financial obligations on the part of the City that have not been previously approved by City Council.

 

20. City Council request the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, in consultation with the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to inform local Councillors in advance of any property addresses being publicly released, and to work with local Councillors on communication, and community engagement where possible, prior to occupancy.

Vote (Adopt Item as Amended) Dec-18-2020 12:32 PM

Result: Carried Majority Required - PH19.11 - Bailao - motion 1 Parts 6, 11 and 13 only
Total members that voted Yes: 20 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Shelley Carroll, Mike Colle, Gary Crawford, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Mark Grimes, Cynthia Lai, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Jennifer McKelvie, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Michael Thompson, John Tory
Total members that voted No: 4 Members that voted No are Michael Ford, Stephen Holyday, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Jaye Robinson
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Kristyn Wong-Tam

Vote (Adopt Item as Amended) Dec-18-2020 12:33 PM

Result: Carried Majority Required - PH19.11 - Bailao - the balance of motion 1
Total members that voted Yes: 24 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Shelley Carroll, Mike Colle, Gary Crawford, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Michael Ford, Mark Grimes, Stephen Holyday, 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
Total members that voted No: 0 Members that voted No are
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Kristyn Wong-Tam

2 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Gord Perks (Amended)

That:

 

1. City Council direct the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, in consultation with appropriate staff, to continue to seek vacant hotel and apartment units until every person in Toronto in need of accommodation has been offered housing.

 

2.  City Council request the Federal and Provincial Governments to provide the City of Toronto with the necessary tools to offer housing to every person in need of accommodation, including the expropriation of vacant hotel and apartment units under the authority of Section 8(1)(c) of the Federal Emergencies Act; funding for the necessary social supports for housing Torontonians; funding to acquire and/or lease the necessary units; and approvals or funding for necessary harm reduction measures.

 

Part 2 of motion 2 by Councillor Perks lost.

Vote (Amend Item) Dec-18-2020 12:35 PM

Result: Carried Majority Required - PH19.11 - Perks - motion 2 Part 1
Total members that voted Yes: 22 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Shelley Carroll, Mike Colle, Gary Crawford, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Michael Ford, Mark Grimes, Cynthia Lai, Mike Layton, Jennifer McKelvie, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, Michael Thompson, John Tory
Total members that voted No: 1 Members that voted No are Stephen Holyday
Total members that were Absent: 2 Members that were absent are Josh Matlow, Kristyn Wong-Tam

Vote (Amend Item) Dec-18-2020 12:37 PM

Result: Lost Majority Required - PH19.11 - Perks - motion 2 Part 2
Total members that voted Yes: 6 Members that voted Yes are Shelley Carroll, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Mike Layton, Gord Perks
Total members that voted No: 17 Members that voted No are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Mike Colle, Gary Crawford, Michael Ford, Mark Grimes, Stephen Holyday, 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: 2 Members that were absent are Josh Matlow, Kristyn Wong-Tam

Point of Privilege by Councillor Gord Perks

Councillor Perks, on a Point of Privilege, stated that a report is due on Item PH19.11 and asked the Speaker when Members could expect to receive the report.

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Privilege and advised Members that they would receive the report sometime today.


Point of Privilege by Councillor Gord Perks

Councillor Perks, on a Point of Privilege, stated that at the beginning of the meeting he had inquired as to when Members would receive the outstanding report for Item PH19.11.  Councillor Perks further stated that it is getting near the end of the day and Members have not received the report.

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Privilege and asked the Deputy City Manager, Community and Social Services to respond.

The Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services advised Council that the Deputy City Manager, Community and Social Services was not currently present at the meeting and would get back to the Speaker.

Speaker Nunziata subsequently advised Members of Council that the supplementary report had been received and was posted on the City's website.

PH19.11 - Emergency Housing Action

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Without Recs
Wards:
All

Committee Recommendations

The Planning and Housing Committee submits the item to City Council without recommendations.

Decision Advice and Other Information

The Planning and Housing Committee:

 

1. Directed staff to report directly to the December 16 and 17, 2020 City Council meeting with a review of any programs, funding sources, and legislative tools available to the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the City of Toronto to provide housing in the next several weeks.

Origin

(December 7, 2020) Letter from the Members of the Planning and Housing Committee

Summary

The City of Toronto has taken extraordinary actions to deal with the housing crisis during the pandemic, but hundreds of people are still living outdoors. As the cold weather approaches, we must do more. However we cannot do it without the assistance of other orders of government.

 

Since the start of the pandemic, the City of Toronto has created 2,300 spaces in new temporary shelter and hotel programs for physical distancing.

 

The City has also referred more than 2,500 people experiencing homelessness to permanent housing through a combination of housing allowances and rent-geared-to-income units

There are more than 6,000 shelter spaces in the city today.

 

Through the City’s Streets to Homes teams and partner agencies, the City has helped more than 1,100 people move inside from encampments since the pandemic began. In the past two weeks, alone, 110 people have accepted offers to move inside.

 

The City’s winter services plan has also begun operations. Adding 620 additional spaces over the winter, this year’s plan offers more space than any other previous year and includes shelter space, hotel space and permanent housing. For the first time, there are four warming centres, an increase from one, across the city when an extreme cold weather alert is called.

The City offers 24-hour respite sites and drop-ins for infection prevention and control (IPAC), personal protective equipment (PPE), and is distributing more than 100,000 pieces of PPE to the homelessness sector each week for use by staff. The City screens staff and clients in shelters daily and refers anyone with symptoms to provincial assessment centres. Clients awaiting test results and those who test positive are transferred to a recovery/isolation site with medical supports.

 

All of these housing, shelter and respite spaces include medical supports, like mental health and addiction counselling, meals, clean linen and access to showers, to ensure people don’t return to living outside.

 

In April 2020, the City launched the Modular Housing Initiative that opens 100 new supportive homes by the end of the year. In 2021, an additional 150 modular supportive homes will also be created for people experiencing homelessness. Through the federal Rapid Housing Initiative, the City will be able to add a minimum of 417 affordable and supportive homes ready for occupancy by end of 2021.

 

Despite all of this, hundreds of people are still living outdoors.

 

Living outside is not safe. As of December 2, the City has identified 395 tents in 66 sites in parks across Toronto. This number includes wooden structures, tents and green pods. Encampments in parks and other public spaces pose a significant risk of fire and other hazards to those living in an encampment, as well as to emergency responders when called to a site. Open flames, generators and unsafe wiring, combined with the storage of gasoline, propane and other highly flammable substances makes living outside extremely dangerous.

To date this year, Toronto Fire Services has responded to 216 fires in encampments. That is a 218% increase over the same period in 2019. Sadly, one person has died as a result of an encampment fire this year. Seven people have lost their lives as a result of encampments fires in Toronto since 2010.

 

The recent emergence of makeshift shelters and pods in encampments represent a significantly increased danger to those who use them and anyone in the vicinity if these structures were to be involved in a fire. These pods are highly combustible, particularly those constructed of polystyrene insulation. They do not meet the definition of a structure under the provisions of the Ontario Building Code or Ontario Fire Code, but regardless, the City is significantly concerned about the unsafe conditions living outside – be it a tent or other structure – presents.

 

The installation of smoke and/or CO alarms do not mitigate risks, and are insufficient in providing fire safety and, in fact, may provide a false sense of security for those in them. Any fire is a risk for those in these structures, as well as to the community. Early detection of smoke, fire and/or carbon monoxide in an outdoor environment is highly unreliable due to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Given the highly combustible nature of these pods, for example, escaping a fire without serious injury is highly unlikely.

 

Despite all this work and public investment, demand for housing and shelter remains higher than ever before, and the system is at or near capacity most nights. This is why the City continues to open new space and has renewed calls for government partners to continue the cooperative work to implement more housing solutions.

Background Information

(December 7, 2020) Letter from Councillor Gord Perks, Councillor Paula Fletcher, Councillor Brad Bradford, Councillor Jennifer McKelvie, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Councillor Ana Bailao on Emergency Housing Action
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-159239.pdf

Motions

Motion to Add New Business at Committee moved by Councillor Gord Perks (Carried)

Motion to Adopt Item moved by Councillor Gord Perks (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council