Friday, October 10, 2014

TCHC earmarks an extra $61.5 million for repairs

Toronto Community Housing Corp. has approved an additional $61.5 million for building repairs next year but some residents say the only fix is to raze buildings.

Regent Park resident Brandon Kerr said any fix at this point will amount to little more than a Band-Aid.

“Everything needs to be torn down and rebuilt,” Kerr said.

TCHC said the new money will go towards improvement at 335 of its buildings, starting in 2015, and will support the $175 million capital program planned for 2015.

Next year’s budget is an increase of 300% over the 2013 allotment earmarked for restoring TCHC’s buildings — 1000 of which are more than 50 years old.

The board says the 2014 capital program is delivering $128 million in repairs, with $114.8 million in projects approved, underway or completed this year.

Kerr said he has waited more than a year to have his toilet fixed and for workers to replace rotting tiles. He complained paint is peeling off walls and that elevators are constantly in need of repair.

“We need more cameras. Maybe that would stop people from urinating in the elevators and vomiting in the stairwells. It never really gets cleaned up,” Kerr said.

Amanda Degaust added even when repairs are completed, the work is shoddy.

“They promised to fix the splash pad for kids and it’s never been done,” the Regent Park resident said.

“They said they would fix the park, but just brought old stuff in and never painted it.”

The newly-approved funds will allow the city-owned agency to plan and schedule projects strategically and respond to unplanned work, said TCHC Chairman Bud Purves,

“Toronto Community Housing (Corp.) is on track to deliver its 2014 priorities, and is well positioned for success in 2015. We have the financial resources to deliver our capital programs next year,” Purves said.

TCHC has a plan which secures one-third of the required funding for capital projects during the next 10 years, but that pool will start to dry up in 2016 without an additional influx of cash and support from other levels of government.

“Despite all the great work we are doing to repair our homes — and the benefits this work provides our residents — communities and the city we will have to wind down our capital program sometime in 2016 if we do not get the investment support we need from other orders of government,” said TCHC President Greg Spearn, “We are looking to the federal and provincial governments to invest in repairing our social housing infrastructure so that we do not have to vacate and board up any more homes.”
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