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Mitzie Hunter: The Only Candidate with an innovative plan to break the logjam for affordable housing

Other candidates exposed for status quo of enriching developers with too many unaffordable units, too few for families, ignoring renters

Toronto – Mitzie Hunter, the only mayoral candidate with a comprehensive plan, using an innovative public ownership model, to break the logjam and actually create affordable housing, is exposing other candidates for putting forward proposals that would mostly enrich developers with too many unaffordable units, too few for families, and ignoring renters.

“I am the only candidate with a workable plan to deliver more new affordable housing, more quickly, for the people who need it most,” says Hunter.

“Enriching developers helped get us in the mess we are now in. Only my plan will get us to the Toronto that works for everyone.”

Hunter’s detailed and practical five-point affordable housing plan will:

  • Unlock public lands for more new affordable housing
  • End the multiplex ban
  • Add rental apartments on major streets and near campuses
  • Speed up building approvals and construction
  • Protect renters and save current affordable housing.

“The other candidates have released housing proposals that bow to developers, falling short both in terms of numbers of units and affordability. They would enrich developers and make no dent in the supply of affordable housing,” says Hunter. “My plan uses a public ownership model to build many more affordable housing units for renters and buyers alike.”

Here is how Hunter’s five-point affordable housing plan works:

  • Unlock Public Lands for Below-Market Ownership Opportunities and Rental Apartments: 

o   Build housing into every City-led development, including libraries, community centres, subway & LRT stations and Green P parking lots, and the vast majority of these new units can and must be affordable.

o   On her first day as mayor, Hunter will issue a proclamation stating that “there is no such thing as surplus City land” to make it clear to all that there is no greater priority than leveraging City properties to develop as much affordable housing as possible.

o   Establish a new Toronto Affordable Housing Corporation (TAHC) which will: 

  • Be responsible for the development on public land of purpose-built below-market rate rental apartments and affordable ownership units in buildings of between 10 and 20 storeys which are suitable for small and medium sized lots across the city. 
  • Deliver a Phase One goal of starting 12 buildings in year one, starting 24 in year two, 30 in year three and 42 in year four for a total of 108 projects with the target of delivering nearly 22,700 unitsby the end of year six, providing housing for approximately 53,650 people.
  • Deliver more affordable rental units than any currently announcedplan including Housing Now:
  • 5,660 units will be set at 100 per cent of AMR (25 per cent of all units),
  • 3,468 units will be set at 80 per cent of AMR (15 per cent of all units), and
  • 2,108 units will be set at 40 per cent of AMR (nine percent of all units). 
  • Build 5,320 purpose-built market rental units (23 per cent of all units) subject to annual rent control limits. 
  • Provide the only affordable ownership opportunitiesof any announced plan by building 6,136 “shared equity” purchase units (27 per cent of all units).
  • Shared equity units will be units sold at 50 per cent of market value with 50 per cent retained by the TAHC. When a unit is sold, 50 per cent of the appreciated value is retained by the TAHC to reinvest in future projects.
  • Ensure projects include on-site retail and on-site community space for satellite libraries and public health offices and childcare for larger developments. 
  • Add 17 acres of new public parks and greenspace across 68 TAHC developments. 
  • By the end of Phase 1 generate total earnings greater than the original City contributions allowing the TAHC to invest in more affordable housing projects on an on-going basis.  
  • End the multiplex ban:

o   Build the “missing middle” by enabling Montreal-style low-rise multiplexes of up to four units on every residential lot in the city as of right meaning no need to seek slow and expensive variance approvals. 

o   This will increase rental and buying opportunities across the city and better accommodate multi-generational families by adding one or two units throughout existing neighbourhoods.

o   The City will also provide up to $100,000 in forgivable low-interest loans for the cost of renovations or additions to create multiplexes. Modelled on the City’s Housing Initiatives Laneway Suites program, the annual payment will be forgivable every year that the unit is rented at below average rent. 

o   The City will also develop standardized designs for laneway and garden suites of various sizes to expedite approvals and review other City policies that can preclude yellowbelt development. We will also review opportunities for laneway and garden suites on Toronto Community Housing properties. 

  • Add rental apartments on major streets and near campuses:

o   Turn our major streets into great streets – this means wide sidewalks, tree-lined boulevards, and shops and amenities within walking distance. This is only possible with greater density.

o   Permit apartment buildings of up to eight storeys along the more than 1,200 kilometres of Toronto roads that are deemed to be “major streets” and also in new student housing zones, while continuing to identify opportunities for greater density. 

o   Create more permissive zoning in areas around postsecondary campuses including greater flexibility for dedicated student residences. Work with the Province to enable rental-only zoning tools, as has been enabled in Vancouver. 

  • Speed Up Building approvals and construction: 

o   Hire 15 more city planners and expedite development application reviews to get new housing approved more quickly. 

o   Speed up approvals by reviewing the City’s design guidelines and heritage designations that are too often used to slow or thwart new development.

o   Make public consultations for housing projects more accessible and reflective through social media outreach, online meeting options and surveys that remain open for consultation.

o   Use it or lose it: In a housing crisis, we can’t let land ready for new homes sit empty. To discourage unacceptable delays, we will work with the Province to introduce a tax on speculators with land and approved building permits. 

o   Make the Open Door program permanent, fast-tracking planning approvals for affordable housing. 

  • Protect Renters and Save Current Affordable Housing: 

o   Empower non-profit housing providers, co-ops and land trusts to aggressively increase their portfolios.

o   Provide for the next two years a $50-million annual increase for the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition program drawn from the Land Acquisition Reserve to support the purchase, renovation and operation of rental properties by non-profit housing providers, co-ops and land trusts. 

o   Ensure 20 per cent of projects are dedicated to Indigenous housing organizations. 

o   Create a rapid deployment deposit program to enable purchases with the same speed as the private sector. This program helps save apartment buildings and multi-tenant houses that are either vacant or at risk of conversion to less affordable housing, while the City works to prevent demolitions of existing rental buildings.

o   Increase eviction prevention services by expanding the Eviction Prevention in the Community (EPIC) Program which supports vulnerable rental households to maintain their homes by adding six new positions and also triple the Rent Bank to 15 million per year. 

o   Create a Tenant Advocate role in the Legal Services division to help tenants fight illegal rent increases and fraudulent evictions with an annual budget of $5 million supported by 25 new Municipal Licensing & Standards inspectors in a new Rental Housing Integrity Unit with an annual budget of $4.5 million. 

o   Ensure all rentals on City land are subject to annual rent control limits and advocate to the Province to bring rent control back to all units. 

o   Hire 15 more building inspectors to increase building code monitoring and fines for property standard violations in condos and apartment buildings, including elevator and appliance repair, temperature control and pests. Fund from Building Code Act Service Improvement Reserve.

“We are in a housing crisis and buying a home in Toronto is now out of reach for all but the wealthiest,” says Hunter.

“The only way out of this mess is to add more affordable housing to meet demand and lower price escalation for renters and buyers alike. My plan does this.”



Charmain Emerson

Remarks by Mitzie Hunter on her innovative and workable affordable housing plan, June 19, 2023:

  • Since the beginning of this campaign I have systematically laid out my priorities.
  • Investing more in city services… so the city works better.
  • More potholes filled, better snow clearance…
  • Enhanced and improved neighbourhood parks…
  • My Safety and Affordability Action Plan for Seniors…
  • My practical and pragmatic game plan to help Toronto close the $4.3-billion hole in its operating budget.
  • Today I am talking about affordable housing.
  • We are in a housing crisis… 
  • Buying a home in Toronto is now out of reach… for all but the wealthiest.
  • The only way out of this mess is to add more affordable housing… 
  • More affordable housing… to meet demand… and lower price escalation… 
  • For renters and buyers alike.
  • My plan does this. 
  • I am the only candidate with an innovative… comprehensive… and workable plan… 
  • For more affordable housing… more quickly. 
  • Unlocking public lands for affordable housing.
  • Below-market price housing… for renters and buyers alike. 
  • Adding rental apartments on major streets and near campuses, 
  • Speeding up building approvals and construction.
  • Protecting renters… 
  • Saving current affordable housing.
  • The other candidates have released housing proposals… 
  • But their proposals bow to developers… 
  • Falling short both in terms of numbers of units… and affordability.
  • Too small to be family-friendly. 
  • They would do little for people who need affordable housing… 
  • And would enrich private developers.
  • My plan is innovative.
  • It uses a public ownership model… 
  • To build many more affordable housing units… 
  • For renters and buyers alike.
  • Large enough for families.
  • Other candidates take a status quo approach.
  • A failed status quo approach.
  • From the same faces… from the same places. 
  • Even Olivia Chow… in a televised debate.. called her own housing proposal “a drop in the bucket.”
  • The choice is clear.
  • A drop in the bucket… or thousands of purpose-built affordable units under my plan… 
  • To meet demand… and lower price escalation…
  • For renters and buyers alike. My plan does this. 
  • I am running for mayor because I want to lead Toronto’s revival.
  • When people vote for me as their mayor, they know exactly what they are getting.