Pancakes and positive outcomes for marginalized city residents were the order of the day recently as the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) in co-operation with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area, the City of Toronto Affordable Housing Office and Evergreen City Works brought together a panel of experts for a discussion that took a fresh look at affordable housing issues in support of National Housing Day.
Held at Scadding Court Community Centre in Toronto, the event began with a hot breakfast served to local residents, representatives from the organized real estate community and elected leaders from all three levels of government.
Taking part in the discussions were panelists Greg Spearn, interim president and CEO of TCHC, Sean Gadon, director of the City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Office, Joe Vaccarro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association and Steve Rohacek, senior VP at Infrastructure Ontario.
Habitat for Humanity GTA’s CEO Ene Underwood moderated the exchange of ideas, which focused on the innovation, partnerships and political leadership needed to facilitate affordable housing solutions. The discussion spanned a range of topics from new materials that make construction more cost-effective to ideas for greater cohesiveness among social housing organizations. Panelists agreed that more opportunities to streamline regulations, to develop partnerships with private enterprise and to engage local residents in the planning process are needed, as is a commitment from all levels of government to take ownership of the issue and work together towards solutions.
“With more condominium developments under construction than any other city in North America, Toronto has grown rapidly in recent years and achieved formidable status among world cities,” says Paul Etherington, TREB president. “As we continue to do so, we have a real opportunity to set a first-rate example, to move the needle on this issue by working together to facilitate the development mixed-use communities,” he says.