Already, the data shows more than 30 social-housing properties are in serious disrepair. Of 364 developments — which include houses and groupings of low-rise buildings and towers — 222 developments are ranked in “poor” condition, with dozens edging on critical condition, based on a standard ranking used by the housing corporation.
Those critical sites are homes for more than 3,000 individuals and families.
The data shows a pervasive problem at a time when the city is grappling with how to keep thousands of units open with a $1.73-billion funding gap.
Of the 364 developments, more than 100 were offloaded onto the city by the province more than a decade and a half ago without money needed to cover the repairs. Of the buildings in the critical and poor categories, more than a third were downloaded by the province.
At the same time, the city was also saddled with tens of millions of dollars in provincial debt costs for the buildings while the province has yet to contribute any funding for critical repairs.
The failing buildings span nearly every part of the city, from Cabbagetown to The Queensway and North Etobicoke to Scarborough East.
To keep on track with a 10-year, $2.6-billion plan, Toronto Community Housing needs to do $438 million worth of repairs next year.
It is $350 million short.
The needs are not superficial, such as broken fridges or paint peeling from the walls — of which there are many.
The repairs are required because the structure of some buildings is literally crumbling, leaking roofs have become so bad that residents have been forced to leave the top floors of towers, plumbing has collapsed and boilers are failing.
By the end of this year, Toronto Community Housing has said it will have to close 600 units. A further 400 are expected to be closed next year if funding isn’t secured.
Toronto Community Housing uses an industry standard to determine and rank the status of buildings called a facility condition index. It works this way: The cost for repairs versus the cost to replace the buildings is used to calculate a percentage. The higher the percentage, the worse the building’s condition.
Anything at or above 30 per cent is considered critical, but does not mean the building cannot be saved.
Toronto Community Housing provided the data to the Star after repeated requests for the entire database.
The most severe problem is a group of Victorian-era heritage homes in Cabbagetown, which on their own require millions to fix structural, roofing and other deficiencies. Their heritage status complicates repairs because it requires construction that follows a specific, legislated standard.
A 10-year repair plan was approved by the city in 2013, to be funded by all three levels of government — a third of the cost assigned to each, or $864 million.
The Trudeau government recently committed to $11.2 billion in future affordable housing spending over 11 years, which is expected to benefit, in part, social housing providers like Toronto Community Housing. But it is not yet clear how much of that will be available to TCH and how soon.
The provincial Liberals, however, have not committed to funding the repair plan. When the province announced its 2017 budget last month, there was no new money for social housing repairs. Mayor John Tory called it a “big goose egg.”
By 2021, the data shows, all but one provincial riding in Toronto’s east end will be home to critical units, including five in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Don Valley West riding — three of them seniors buildings.
The city was made solely responsible for thousandsof social housing units in 2001, after they were transferred from the now defunct Ontario Housing Corp. under former Conservative premier Mike Harris.
But the buildings, many built in the 1960s and ’70s, came without reserve funds and in varying states of disrepair.
Though the province was providing funds to compensate, in 2013 they unexpectedly announced they were phasing out those payments — which had totaled $150 million annually. The funds stopped coming last year.
The city not only contributes to mortgage payments through an annual subsidy to Toronto Community Housing, it has also, since 2001, been responsible for handling other provincial debt related to the buildings.
That debt is carried as a debenture. Unlike a mortgage which is secured by one property, the debenture is a loan secured by the general credit of the government, city spokesperson Wynna Brown explained in an email.
“Before social housing was transferred to municipalities debentures were used by the Ontario Housing Corporation to fund the public housing stock, including many of the properties that are now TCHC,” Brown wrote.
When the city first assumed that debt in 2001, the annual payment was $34.4 million. The city has been making annual payments since then, paying out tens of millions of dollars. This year, the city will pay $21 million.
The city is expected to be repaying that debt until 2026.
Author: Jennifer Pagliaro