Plan to move seniors out of TCHC homes to test Teflon Ford’s political indestructibility

Since the mayoral race, one of the iron laws of Toronto city hall has been that no matter what he does, nothing seems to stick to Rob Ford. His nasty comments about HIV and cyclists and the tens of millions of dollars he’s costing the city because he doesn’t like surface rail just don’t seem to change people’s opinion of him. In what looks like an attempt to test this theory to destruction, Ford’s hand-picked community housing czar, Case Ootes, plans to approve staff plans to sell 21 homes out from under their current occupants—including seniors. The number was 22, but the Toronto Star’s reporting managed to save one 79-year-old from eviction. The other homes are still on the line:

This issue is far from over, though. Joyce Tait has been told she can stay because city council passed a motion in 2001, which exempted her because of her age from having to move in the case of a sale.

Some of Tait’s longtime neighbours, however, are now seniors, although at the time of the previous council debate they weren’t, and as such did not receive an exemption.

A TCHC spokesperson said the housing agency still intends to ask the board — which now consists solely of interim managing director Case Ootes — for permission to sell the 22 houses. The sale of some will be delayed until those with exemptions move out.

Unlike Ford’s embracing of expensive and unlikely subway plans, this move actually has a decent policy excuse behind it, which is that the detached houses are more expensive to maintain, and that TCHC could make more money selling them and using the revenues to maintain the multi-resident buildings. Fair enough, but we’re still kind of shocked to see the mayor’s office risking headlines like “Granny forced on the street by Ford’s cost-cutting” or something (hey, it’s the Star, after all).

Of course, Ford already had his mug shot in the papers and still got re-elected, so we’re more than a little curious to see how far the mayor’s office can push this. What’s the Ford Nation equivalent of Pierre Trudeau’s “Just watch me”?

• Senior can stay in Beach home [Toronto Star] • TCHC could net $13M from 22-house sale [National Post]


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