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February 2018 Council Round Up

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It's been a big week at City Hall! Here's your January 2018 City Council round up.

Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy 2017 Report and 2018 Work Plan
City Council adopted the TO Prosperity 2018 Work Plan, which includes measures such as implementing the Open Door Affordable Housing Program to create new affordable rental and ownership homes across the City by expediting planning processes, creating 1000 new affordable rental units, and renovations to create 119 new affordable homes with supports at 389 Church Street.

Improving Data Collection Management of Toronto's Homeless Population
City Council has directed the Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to work with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and other interested stakeholders to report back in 2018 on measures to improve tracking information on admission and discharges of homeless individuals between shelter, respites, and hospitals. Direction was also given to increase transparency in occupancy statistics for the City's shelters.

Ensuring a Robust Hotel Supply to Strengthen Tourism
City Council directed staff to review the potential for the implementation of a hotel accommodation replacement policy and or strategy to protect the existing amount of hotel space in mixed use and regeneration areas in Toronto's Official Plan. As staff conveyed to Council, Toronto is increasingly unable to support large-scale international events with the decline in hotel stock, impacting the city's ability to receive tourists and host important industry shows. This is a challenge for hotels that, while profitable, are often located on sites being re-zoned to condominium use.

Yellow Creek and Vale of Avoca Update
City Council supported recommendations from Councillors Wong-Tam and Matlow to have staff engage local community organizations on planning for long-term improvements to Yellow Creek and the Vale of Avoca. This will help to identify funding gaps, infrastructure needs, and a timeline to restore the ravine, in conjunction with the current hydrogeological study and forthcoming Ravine Strategy.

Municipal Accommodation Tax
City Council approved the implementation of a 4 percent tax on the sale of transient accommodations in short-term rentals. This policy is expected to bring in a net revenue of $16,100,000.00 in 2018.

Old City Hall – Future Uses and Tenant Options
City Council directed staff to develop a design and plans for Old City Hall that include a Museum of Toronto, a public library branch, wedding chamber, café, public event space, and institutional uses.

Modernization of 389 Church Street
City Council authorized the release of $14.738 million in funds to construct 120 new self-contained one and two-bedroom affordable housing units at 389 Church Street, as well as significant upgrades to the building to facilitate accessibility and modernize its health and safety systems.

Review of Current Winter Respite and Shelter Services During the Recent Cold Weather
City Council reaffirmed its commitment to a 90% shelter occupancy cap across all sectors, develop options for real-time space availability reporting, and explore opportunities for more spaces to be made available through partnerships with faith-based and other community organizations. An amendment by Councillor Wong-Tam was adopted to have staff review the recent report "An Evaluation of Toronto's Warming Centre and Winter Response to Homelessness", which indicated many Toronto shelters were failing both local and UN standards for facilities and service delivery.

Parks Ambassador Service Level
City Council directed the General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation to establish adequate service levels for the Parks Ambassador Program to meet City-wide demands and report back in the first quarter of 2019. The Ambassador program represents front-line staff who work with shelters, housing, medical, and police teams to ensure that parks are safe, clean, and that those in need are connected with appropriate resources.