Housing Roundtables highlight need for federal action

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Meetings also held in Vancouver and Edmonton

The Pan Am Village Housing Development

Toronto Mayor John Tory met with residents today to discuss their struggle to buy or rent in an increasingly expensive housing market.

The event was one of three “Day of Housing” roundtables held by the mayors of Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton as part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the need for federal action and investments in affordable housing and homelessness programs in Canadian cities.

The Toronto roundtable was held at Wattpad, a fast growing technology company where more than 75 per cent of the employees are under the age of 34. A poll conducted by Angus Reid in 2015 found that 45 per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 were considering leaving Toronto because of the price of housing.

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Every age and income level

“Housing is an issue that affects Toronto residents at every age and every income level,” said Mayor Tory. “One of the reasons we need our federal partners to take action on housing is so young, talented people can afford to live and work in Toronto, our economy can grow and our city can continue to compete.”

The Vancouver roundtable, hosted by Mayor Gregor Robertson, also focused on housing affordability and was co-hosted by Generation Squeeze advocacy group. Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors’ Caucus, focused his discussion on issues of homelessness.

“Vancouver’s housing crisis is impacting people of all ages and neighbourhoods, with young people being hit especially hard,” said Mayor Robertson. “Vancouver is doing everything we can to protect and build affordable homes, using all tools available to ensure the best use of all our housing, but we need the support of senior governments to deepen affordability and support both owners and renters in this tough market. The federal government’s National Housing Strategy is a tremendous opportunity to up the ante on investments in affordable housing.”

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“We are advocating for a continuum of housing needs in our cities because everyone deserves a place to call home,” said Mayor Iveson. “Every dollar we advocate for can make the difference to end the cycle of homelessness.”

The Day of Housing Roundtables follows the Toronto Housing Summit on September 30, where the Big City Mayors’ Caucus presented the federal government with seven principles to inform their National Housing Strategy. Among those principles were a call to take action to spark construction and growth in the rental sector, and a call to end homelessness. The seven principles are available at http://bit.ly/2e96gn8.

On October 26 and 27, the City of Vancouver is hosting The Re:Address Summit, bringing together 500 internationally renowned leaders to tackle housing challenges. The event is being attended by Toronto’s Housing Advocate, Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport).

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