City of Toronto Tenants have been a major group who have experience funding cuts by all levels of government. I am here representing a small tenant associtiation within the Cityhome portfolio which has been participating in the amalgamation discussions between Cityhome and the Metro Toronto Housing Company Limited.
Our tenants have had to cope with very little funding over this whole period. There are many issues raised by the amalgamation and downloading. We have stacks of materials which we have not had the resources to communicate to our tenants. Added to this at 22 McCaul an issue arose in January 1998 over the use of our lounge space by staff. We were told that there was insufficeint funds in the Cityhome budgets to pay for and cover staff need with respect to our space. Our association had to vacate the space which we had used for regular tenant activities and meetings since 1993. This policy adopted by the new amalgamated housing Company, (Toronto Community Housing Corporation,) has had an adverse affect on our tenants many of whom have disabilities. To date, this issue has not been resolved to our satisfaction and we have received very little compensation.
At this meeting I could go into the various areas of tenant abuse by all levels of government. I, however, wish to express my deep concern and anger upon hearing that yet again our tenants have not been properly consulted with respect to the make-up of this budget. It is not my intention to undermine any other tenant group, but it seems to me that one tenant group monoplises most of this city's funding with respect to tenants, namely, the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations. I would point out some problems with this strategy by City Council.
Public housing tenants will continue to be abandoned and ignored in this downloading as their needs are not addressed and reflected in this budget.
No evidence is presented in the report before us that this strategy has prevented one eviction.
No equitable mechanism have been in place governing the monitoring and administration of these funds.
Accountability and access are jeopardised if this strategy is not inclusive and comprehensive. As an example of how access and accountability are threatened by your strategy, I received a flyer from the F.M.T.A. advising us of eviction workshops. In order for our tenants to participate in the workshops, the Federation demanded that we pay fees to join their association, as well as, pay for the workshops. After several inquiries, we further learned that these workshops had been funded by the City, covered in the 1998 budget. In other words, as we pay rent to the City, our tenants have already paid for these workshops in rent and taxes. In other words, we were being double charged by the Federation, and therefore, the City, because no one had bothered to consider our situation. Further, when we complained about this to Councillors and staff we were ignored. It appears the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations has enormous manipulative powers! Our tenants have still not received their workshops funded in the 1998 budget.
There follows some comments in notation format with respect to this Report:
We have been provided with no data to support that the 1998 eviction strategy prevented one eviction, i.e. statistics, personal testimonies, evidence from other jurisdictions, that this strategy has documented merit to be funded.
One (a) and One (c) on pages 1 and 2 of the Report are in my opinion duplications. No argument is presented on the differences between (a) and (c) or thie possible outcomes
In the Legal Information and Support Section, most demand from tenants for services are at the Tenant Duty Counsel level of the tribunal and at Legal Clinics. Why is the F.M.T.A. hotline being considered for funding when the demand on the hotline by tenants, is supposedly only 650 calls? Such an audit should provide information on who made the calls and whether the advice given prevented an eviction. As such, at the moment, there is no research data in this Report that supports this kind of eviction strategy and intervention.
Why ii the review of the hotline being made after funding has been allocated especially in light of (3) above?
Some members of the FMTA Board are employees of ONPHA and the City of Toronto and are in conflict of interest situations with respect to City of Toronto tenants as the City and ONPHA are our landlords. We therefore, object to this funding as we have no control over the FMTA or ONPHA.
That this committee immediately strike a review panel comprising of tenant or their representatives from all tenant associations in this city that will advise on how further budgets be constructed so that the process is open and fair.
That in view of the above, the FMTA funding be denied.
That all tenant groups be provided with the resources to adopt an eviction strategy not only the FMTA
Editors Note: During the question and answer period, it also came out that the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations was also charging public housing tenants $10 per copy of their "Tenant Survival Manual", even though their group had been paid $10,000 by the city to produce, print and distribute their booklet.
Go back to the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations Story