Tracey Smith, Chair
Rooming House Working Group
Shelter, Support & Housing Administration Housing & Homelessness Supports & Tel: 416-397-4830
Phil Brown, General Manager Initiatives Fax: 416-338-1144
6th Floor, Metro Hall, 55 John Street
Toronto, ON M5V 3C6
ROOMING HOUSE WORKING GROUP MEETING NOTES
November 12, 2007, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Metro Hall, Room 304
Tracey Smith Shelter, Support & Housing Administration, Chair
Paul Dennison CRC
Hratch Aynedjian Executive Assistant to Councillor Norm Kelly
Miriam Barna Individual
Karen Cooper Affordable Housing Office
Brian Forth Circle of Life Homes
Rosemary Foulds Shelter, Support & Housing Administration
Carmel Hili CRC
Thoywell Kennedy Kennedy Residence
Pauline Kennedy Kennedy Residence
Joe Luzi Municipal Licensing & Standards
Joe Magalhaes Municipal Licensing & Standards
Phil Nazar CRC
Hyacinth Robinson-Powell Macdonell House
Arnie Rose Affordable Housing Office
Hyancinth Sulph Personal Care Housing
Pam CRC student
Janet Fairfield East York East Toronto Family Resources/RENT
1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 2:10 p.m. Tracey welcomed everyone to the meeting
and there was a round of introductions. Two new members were introduced: Joe
Magalhaes from MLS and Miriam Barna, who has just completed her MSc in Planning at
the University of Toronto. Joe Luzi indicated that this was his last meeting and that Joe
Magalhaes will be attending the RHWG meetings from now on.
2. Approval of the October 15, 2007 minutes
The minutes of the October 15, 2007 meeting were approved as circulated.
3. Housing Opportunities Toronto, Karen Cooper, 416-397-5183
The City of Toronto launched Housing Opportunities Toronto (HOT), An Affordable
Housing Framework 2008 - 2018 on November 7. The framework was presented to the
Affordable Housing Committee on November13th.
HOT outlines a long-term strategy to create and maintain affordable housing for the City
of Toronto. HOT proposes 71 different actions by the City, the provincial and federal
governments as well as the private and non-profit sectors. It calls for new investments of
$469 million annually for the next decade.
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HOT is based on the principle that affordable housing is a positive contributor to the
City’s economy, its environmental efforts and to the health of its neighbourhoods and
residents. The goal is to assist 200,000 households between 2008 and 2018.
HOT outlines six strategic themes:
- Help homeless and vulnerable people find and keep homes
- Assist people to afford rents
- Help people buy and stay in their own homes
- Preserve and fix rental housing and keep it affordable
- Create and renew mixed, inclusive, sustainable neighbourhoods
- Create new affordable housing. (p. 10)
Actions with specific targets are proposed for each theme
Rooming houses are part of the fourth theme: preserving and fixing rental housing and
keep it affordable. Three actions are proposed with respect to rooming houses:
- encouraging and permitting an increase in legal rooming houses
- helping preserve existing rooming house opportunities for singles by providing
training and other supports to landlords
- supporting the upgrading safety and repair of rooming houses through Federal
Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program”.
The group provided some initial feedback on HOT:
- A critical first step is to look at zoning
- Incentives are needed to go hand in hand with legalizing rooming houses
- Identify best practices from elsewhere/other jurisdictions
- The SRO (rooming house) charette done several years ago is a good example An
analysis of supportive housing, to identify the supports that help people live
successfully in supportive housing, is needed
- There is no reference to private investment, a missed opportunity.
- The Parkdale Pilot Project should be examined
- The Rupert pilot project initiatives should be examined.
- RRAP funding needs to be flexible enough to bring units on the market.
- Rooming houses in mixed development projects ie. Regent Park, should be
- Funding will be needed for emerging issues (e.g. bed bugs)
- Workers who are displaced by the high cost of housing make an important
contribution to making city work. This should be highlighted in the plan as part of the
argument about the power of affordable housing
- Look at opportunities to build on top of existing one storey buildings.
The report outlines some challenges which include reversing the provincial downloading
burden and the need for the federal government to enact a national housing strategy and
provide sustained funding.
The report is meant to generate a discussion on affordable housing. Consultations will be
held over the next few months to get input on the report. 4 specific questions are being
1. Has the framework set the right goals and targets?
2. What should Toronto’s affordable housing priorities be for the next 10 years?
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3. Are there ideas, innovations, programs or policies from other places that should be
4. What role can organizations play in providing affordable housing?
HOT, along with further research and the results of the upcoming consultations will be
blended into a bold and comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan to be reviewed by City
Council in 2008.
The report is at http://www.toronto.ca/affordablehousing/hot.htm.
Karen encouraged members to review the report over the next few months. She is willing
to come back to a future RHWG meeting to get more feedback from this group.
4. Update on the Research Proposal, Rosemary Foulds
The research subcommittee has met several times and has made revisions to the research
proposal. The subcommittee has also consulted with the Affordable Housing Office and
with Councillor Gord Perks. He recommended including the Parkdale Pilot Project as a
best practices model and estimates that there are currently 10 -12 Councillors on side
with rooming houses.
The timing for the research is good as it will be a useful contribution for the Affordable
Changes in the proposal since the previous meeting include:
- East York East Toronto Family Resources (EYET), the agency which operates
www.landlordconnect.ca is willing to trustee the funds and manage the research
project for the Rooming House Working Group, provided it is supported by a steering
committee to oversee the project.
- The number of Rent Geared to Income bachelor (16,000) and one bedroom (23,000)
units has been inserted.
- The definition of the incidence of low income has been added.
- The research proposal builds on the recommendations of the Profile of Rooming
House Residents Research Report, Social Data Research, 2006, Canada Mortgage and
- The proposal now has 5 objectives: making recommendations to the Affordable
Housing Framework has been added.
- The order of the objectives has changed: the stakeholder discussions will take place
toward the end of the project.
- There will be one business case instead of three.
RHWG members provided the following feedback:
Add information on the Rupert program in the paragraph that talks about crises
- Changes to the business case
- Add the cost of providing emergency shelters as a consequence of not proceeding
- Add the cost of conducting property standard investigations in response to complaints
about illegal rooming houses
- Use term “residential accommodation” in place of “suburban home”
- Be careful with mixing buildings uses (i.e. keep residential occupancy in residential
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- Look at the work of the Dream Team i.e. supportive housing (dealing with
- Ensure there is flexibility to work within the proposal parameters.
The RHWG agreed to proceed with the proposal with an upset funding limit of
$50,000.00. EYET will prepare a detailed budget and Terms of Reference for the
Steering Committee. These will be circulated when they are received.
5. New Business/Announcements
• CRC Research on Personal Care Boarding Homes.
CRC received funding from the Wellesley Institute to interview tenants in personal
care boarding homes. 46 interviews have been completed. CRC plans to finished the
project by the end of the year.
• Changes at CRC
Michael Blair, the Executive Director, will be leaving the end of the year. The offices
will be moving to a temporary site during construction at Regent Park. CRC will be
building 87 units of supportive housing at their current site.
• Resources Exist for Networking and Training (RENT) Handouts/Flyers
RENT has redesigned their website for housingworkers.ca and landlordconnect.ca.
For more info contact Sandra at 416-686-3390 x348. Feedback is always welcome.
• Landlordconnect’s Networking Lunch for Landlords & Housing Workers
December 11 from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at EYET located at 947 Queen Street East.
RSVP is required by contacting Janet or Sandra at 416-686-3390 or register on line at
• Newspaper Articles
Larry discussed two recent newspaper articles on the minimum/maximum density and
height of zoning by-laws i.e. article entitled “City sleeps as single-storey storeys
creep” and on the recent HOT report entitled “Housing costs pushing out key workers
report warns”. Copies were circulated.
• MLS Licensing Commissioner
After 12 and a half years as the MLS Licensing Commissioner Fred Breeze is
retiring. Larry Colle will be the new Rooming House Licensing Commissioner and
Cheryl Gaster will be the Deputy Rooming House Licensing Commissioner.
A farewell/send off presentation will occur on December 11 at 10 am in Committee
Room 3, City Hall. The RHWG agreed to send fare well wishes to Fred. Paul,
RHWG Community Co-chair, will present the letter to Fred on behalf of the RHWG
at his farewell.
December 10, 2007 Agenda for the December 10, 2007 meeting:
2 – 4 pm 1. Approval of the November 12, 2007 minutes
Metro Hall 2. Update on the Research Proposal
Room 304 3. Housing Opportunities Toronto (HOT) 10-year housing
4. New Business/Announcements
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