[Hpn] Many hands help housing project

Graeme Bacque graeme.bacque@3web.net
Tue, 05 Jun 2001 06:35:17 -0400


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June 5, 2001 The Toronto Star

Many hands help housing project
Rap group among donors for 51-unit downtown building

Katherine Harding
STAFF REPORTER

Construction has finally started on a downtown transitional housing project 
thanks to money from all three levels of government, a charitable 
organization and even the Beastie Boys.

But affordable housing proponents say it's only a baby step toward a 
desperately needed national housing program.

Located on Leonard Ave. in the Bathurst and Dundas area, the $4.7 million, 
51-unit housing project is set to open in November, ending ``the six-year 
drought of building affordable housing in downtown Toronto,'' Councillor 
Olivia Chow said yesterday at a news conference.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
`Today's announcement is a clear indication of just how much has been done 
in the past year and what can be accomplished when we work together, when 
we combine resources.'- Federal minister Claudette Bradshaw
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The federal money is from a national fund totalling $753 million earmarked 
for battling homelessness. Claudette Bradshaw, the federal minister 
responsible for homelessness, announced the fund in December, 1999. Toronto 
will receive $53.1 million over three years for capital projects and 
service programs.

The Leonard Ave. facility is one of 62 projects planned for Toronto this 
year, Bradshaw announced yesterday. The projects will cost nearly $15 
million, with funding from the city, province and federal government.

The federal government puts up $8.2 million, with $2 million coming from 
the province and the remainder from the city and donations.

St. Clare's Multi-faith Housing Society has been developing the Leonard 
Ave. project for more than a year and received donations ranging from 
religious organizations to rap group the Beastie Boys. The average unit in 
the former four-storey medical building will be about 31 square metres and 
will rent for about $325 a month.

Another transitional housing project, located on Bathurst St., is scheduled 
to be partially opened this fall.

The money will also be used for small capital improvements at drop-in 
centres and shelters.

``People have been asking us for money to improve smaller things like 
laundry facilities, wheelchair accessibility and showers for years. Things 
like that haven't been a funding priority for a long time,'' said Phil 
Brown, the general manager of the city's shelter, housing and support division.

``Today's announcement is a clear indication of just how much has been done 
in the past year and what can be accomplished when we work together, when 
we combine resources,'' said Bradshaw.

Chow (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) called on the federal Liberal government to 
set up a promised national housing program. ``We desperately need a 
national housing program. . . . This (transitional housing) is just a 
stepping stone. People need a place to move to.'' She estimates 2,000 units 
are needed in Toronto.

The Liberals outlined in the 2000 Red Book, the party's election platform, 
plans to construct 60,000 to 120,000 new rental units throughout Canada 
over four years with provincial partners.

Bradshaw said Alfonso Gagliano, minister of public works and government 
services, will be making an announcement about the program soon. She 
wouldn't provide more details.

In 1996, the federal government began downloading administration of housing 
programs to provinces and territories.

Chow hopes the federal government joins as partners with community groups 
and the private sector, as well as the province, if they go ahead with the 
national housing program.

``Just don't do it through the province. . . . If they say no, we in 
Toronto are in trouble.''

Municipal Affairs Minister Chris Hodgson said yesterday he doesn't support 
the province getting back into major funding of affordable housing even if 
the federal government offers to get involved.

``We're not going to get back into a billion-dollar boondoggle, where the 
developers and the government squandered away $1 billion of taxpayers' 
money. We are interested in affordable housing and allowing the market to 
provide that,'' Hodgson said.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With files from Bruce DeMara


--Boundary_(ID_9HJj+brqO1gFaU44kXeSKg)
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June 5, 2001 The Toronto Star<br><br>
Many hands help housing project <br>
Rap group among donors for 51-unit downtown building <br><br>
Katherine Harding<br>
STAFF REPORTER <br>
&nbsp;<br>
Construction has finally started on a downtown transitional housing
project thanks to money from all three levels of government, a charitable
organization and even the Beastie Boys.<br><br>
But affordable housing proponents say it's only a baby step toward a
desperately needed national housing program.<br><br>
Located on Leonard Ave. in the Bathurst and Dundas area, the $4.7
million, 51-unit housing project is set to open in November, ending ``the
six-year drought of building affordable housing in downtown Toronto,''
Councillor Olivia Chow said yesterday at a news conference. <br><br>
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br>
<b><i>`Today's announcement is a clear indication of just how much has
been done in the past year and what can be accomplished when we work
together, when we combine resources.'- Federal minister Claudette
Bradshaw <br>
</i></b>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br><br>
The federal money is from a national fund totalling $753 million
earmarked for battling homelessness. Claudette Bradshaw, the federal
minister responsible for homelessness, announced the fund in December,
1999. Toronto will receive $53.1 million over three years for capital
projects and service programs.<br><br>
The Leonard Ave. facility is one of 62 projects planned for Toronto this
year, Bradshaw announced yesterday. The projects will cost nearly $15
million, with funding from the city, province and federal
government.<br><br>
The federal government puts up $8.2 million, with $2 million coming from
the province and the remainder from the city and donations.<br><br>
St. Clare's Multi-faith Housing Society has been developing the Leonard
Ave. project for more than a year and received donations ranging from
religious organizations to rap group the Beastie Boys. The average unit
in the former four-storey medical building will be about 31 square metres
and will rent for about $325 a month.<br><br>
Another transitional housing project, located on Bathurst St., is
scheduled to be partially opened this fall. <br><br>
The money will also be used for small capital improvements at drop-in
centres and shelters.<br><br>
``People have been asking us for money to improve smaller things like
laundry facilities, wheelchair accessibility and showers for years.
Things like that haven't been a funding priority for a long time,'' said
Phil Brown, the general manager of the city's shelter, housing and
support division.<br><br>
``Today's announcement is a clear indication of just how much has been
done in the past year and what can be accomplished when we work together,
when we combine resources,'' said Bradshaw.<br><br>
Chow (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) called on the federal Liberal government
to set up a promised national housing program. ``We desperately need a
national housing program. . . . This (transitional housing) is just a
stepping stone. People need a place to move to.'' She estimates 2,000
units are needed in Toronto.<br><br>
The Liberals outlined in the 2000 Red Book, the party's election
platform, plans to construct 60,000 to 120,000 new rental units
throughout Canada over four years with provincial partners.<br><br>
Bradshaw said Alfonso Gagliano, minister of public works and government
services, will be making an announcement about the program soon. She
wouldn't provide more details.<br><br>
In 1996, the federal government began downloading administration of
housing programs to provinces and territories.<br><br>
Chow hopes the federal government joins as partners with community groups
and the private sector, as well as the province, if they go ahead with
the national housing program.<br><br>
``Just don't do it through the province. . . . If they say no, we in
Toronto are in trouble.''<br><br>
Municipal Affairs Minister Chris Hodgson said yesterday he doesn't
support the province getting back into major funding of affordable
housing even if the federal government offers to get involved.<br><br>
``We're not going to get back into a billion-dollar boondoggle, where the
developers and the government squandered away $1 billion of taxpayers'
money. We are interested in affordable housing and allowing the market to
provide that,'' Hodgson said.<br><br>
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br><br>
With files from Bruce DeMara<br>
&nbsp;<br>
&nbsp;</html>

--Boundary_(ID_9HJj+brqO1gFaU44kXeSKg)--