Item - 2022.PH34.9

Tracking Status

  • City Council adopted this item on June 15, 2022 with amendments.
  • This item was considered by the Planning and Housing Committee on May 31, 2022 and adopted without amendment. It will be considered by City Council on June 15, 2022.

PH34.9 - Toronto Rent Bank Grant Program Pilot Update

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

City Council Decision

City Council on June 15 and 16, 2022, adopted the following:

 

1. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat to convert the Toronto Rent Bank program into a permanent grant-based program and make operational adjustments as required, including forgiving some or all of the loans previously issued and pause any further loan repayments until the operational adjustments that outline the process and criteria for further loan forgiveness have been finalized, and to consult directly with the Neighbourhood Information Post in developing this plan.

 

2. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat to operate the Toronto Rent Bank as a grant program.

Background Information (Committee)

(May 16, 2022) Report and Appendix 1 from the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat on Toronto Rent Bank Grant Program Pilot Update
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226051.pdf

Communications (Committee)

(May 31, 2022) Letter from Savhanna J. Wilson, Associate Director, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (PH.New)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/comm/communicationfile-150420.pdf

Communications (City Council)

(June 14, 2022) Letter from Ambalika Roy, Senior Community Engagement Advisor and Right to Housing in Toronto, Coordinator, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CC.New)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/cc/comm/communicationfile-152719.pdf
(June 15, 2022) Letter from Bahar Shadpour, Director of Policy and Communications Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) (CC.New)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/cc/comm/communicationfile-152720.pdf

Motions (City Council)

1 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Stephen Holyday (Lost)

That City Council direct that the grant category of benefits provided by the Toronto Rent Bank program be drawn exclusively from Provincial funding.

Vote (Amend Item) Jun-16-2022 11:41 AM

Result: Lost Majority Required - PH34.9 - Holyday - motion 1
Total members that voted Yes: 3 Members that voted Yes are Stephen Holyday, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Jaye Robinson
Total members that voted No: 18 Members that voted No are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Robin Buxton Potts, Shelley Carroll, Gary Crawford, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Cynthia Lai, Mike Layton, Nick Mantas, Josh Matlow, Joe Mihevc, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Michael Thompson, John Tory
Total members that were Absent: 4 Members that were absent are Mike Colle, Mark Grimes, Jennifer McKelvie, James Pasternak

2 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Robin Buxton Potts (Carried)

That City Council amend Planning and Housing Committee Recommendation 1 so that it now reads as follows:

 

1. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat to convert the Toronto Rent Bank program into a permanent grant-based program and make operational adjustments as required, including forgiving some or all of the loans previously issued and pause any further loan repayments until the operational adjustments that outline the process and criteria for further loan forgiveness have been finalized, and to consult directly with the Neighbourhood Information Post in developing this plan.

Vote (Amend Item) Jun-16-2022 11:43 AM

Result: Carried Majority Required - PH34.9 - Buxton Potts - motion 2
Total members that voted Yes: 20 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Robin Buxton Potts, Shelley Carroll, Gary Crawford, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Stephen Holyday, Cynthia Lai, Mike Layton, Nick Mantas, Josh Matlow, Joe Mihevc, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, Michael Thompson, John Tory
Total members that voted No: 1 Members that voted No are Denzil Minnan-Wong
Total members that were Absent: 4 Members that were absent are Mike Colle, Mark Grimes, Jennifer McKelvie, James Pasternak

Motion to Adopt Item as Amended (Carried)

Vote (Adopt Item as Amended) Jun-16-2022 11:44 AM

Result: Carried Majority Required - PH34.9 - Adopt the Item as amended
Total members that voted Yes: 19 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Robin Buxton Potts, Shelley Carroll, Gary Crawford, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Cynthia Lai, Mike Layton, Nick Mantas, Josh Matlow, Joe Mihevc, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, Michael Thompson, John Tory
Total members that voted No: 2 Members that voted No are Stephen Holyday, Denzil Minnan-Wong
Total members that were Absent: 4 Members that were absent are Mike Colle, Mark Grimes, Jennifer McKelvie, James Pasternak

Point of Order by Councillor Gord Perks

Councillor Perks, on a Point of Order, stated that he would like the Speaker to rule if Councillor Holyday's motion is in order as it would completely change the budget that Council approved.

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Order and advised that she would review the matter.

PH34.9 - Toronto Rent Bank Grant Program Pilot Update

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Adopted
Wards:
All

Committee Recommendations

The Planning and Housing Committee recommends that:

 

1. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat to convert the Toronto Rent Bank program into a permanent grant-based program and make operational adjustments as required, including forgiving some or all of the loans previously issued.

 

2. City Council authorize the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat to operate the Toronto Rent Bank as a grant program.

Origin

(May 16, 2022) Report from the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat

Summary

The Toronto Rent Bank (Rent Bank) provides interest-free loans to low-income households in Toronto who are experiencing rental arrears or require help with a rental deposit in order to prevent homelessness.

 

The City has made significant program enhancements to Rent Bank throughout the pandemic to expand support for households at risk of eviction to prevent people from becoming homeless due to eviction. These changes include enhancements to increase access and uptake as well as additional investments of $3 million through COVID-19 emergency funds to enable the Rent Bank program to support more households in need.

 

On April 7, 2021, City Council approved a pilot of the Rent Bank program until March 31, 2022, that provided grants instead of loans for any new households accessing the program and suspended any loan repayment requirements for existing Rent Bank clients during the pilot.

 

City staff was requested to report back as per item EC20.3, Recommendation 6.b. to the Planning and Housing Committee on the Rent Bank grant program pilot and further options to protect those most in need from becoming homeless, including through forgiveness of loans or conversion to a grant program, as well as the impact of those options on future years' revenue.

 

There have been positive outcomes of the pilot program for clients who are at risk of eviction. The grant has allowed households to remain in their homes and avoid homelessness. As of March 31, 2022, 1,744 households were able to avoid eviction by receiving a grant since the pilot began on May 1, 2021. This was an increase of 52% or an additional 594 households who were able to avoid eviction as compared to 2020 when only 1,150 households received a loan. In an engagement survey administered to Rent Bank clients who received a grant, clients expressed how essential the grants were to maintain their housing when faced with economic uncertainty during the pandemic.

 

Based on the recommendations in this report, the Rent Bank will be converted to a grants program on a permanent basis and loans repayments that were issued prior to the pilot will resume.  Operational adjustments, approved by the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat, will allow loan forgiveness should repayment result in undue financial hardship as well as the ability to monitor and adjust loan repayment policies in future years.

Background Information

(May 16, 2022) Report and Appendix 1 from the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat on Toronto Rent Bank Grant Program Pilot Update
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226051.pdf

Communications

(May 31, 2022) Letter from Savhanna J. Wilson, Associate Director, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (PH.New)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/comm/communicationfile-150420.pdf

Speakers

Marcia Stone
Sheila Farr

Motions

1 - Motion to Adopt Item moved by Councillor Frances Nunziata (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council