Tenants for Social Housing has released a letter outlining our thoughts on the Affordable Housing Committee’s Special Working Group (SWG). Last Tuesday, the composition of Councillor Ana Bailao’s was announced, and the members are:
• Alan Redway, a former Don Valley East MP and minister of state for housing from 1989 to 1991. Considered a red Tory in the Brian Mulroney government, the retired lawyer has remained an advocate for affordable housing and is a past chair of the Daily Bread Food Bank.
• Bud Purves, president of York University Development Corp., former real estate executive and Mayor Rob Ford’s hand-picked TCHC chair.
• Jim Pimblett, a partner at strategy consulting firm nD Insight, former chief of staff to then-prime minister Paul Martin and former senior official in the office of Michael Ignatieff when he was federal Liberal leader.
T4SH has responded to the working group in a Letter to Councillor Bailao. In the Letter, we outline that while we support the creation of the Special Working Group, we have concerns with its composition. Most notably, we are concerned with the appointment of TCHC Board Chair Bud Purves. Mr. Purves has clearly outlined his intent to sell off our homes on many occasions. In order for this Working Group to remain transparent and objective, T4SH request that Mr. Purves be replaced by someone who is flexible, unbiased, and with skills and experience in understanding the importance of social housing and the real, lived experiences of tenants.
Our second concern is that there is no tenant representation on this committee, even though the fate of our homes and communities is on the line. The media release and coverage on the Affordable Housing Committee website does not give a clear impression of being proactive about engaging tenants, other than sending out a survey to residents of single family homes. This assumes that only a select number of tenants will be engage in a limited structure, without the opportunity for discussion or conversation.