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CivicAction Bootcamp: Q&A with Toronto Community Housing’s Hugh Lawson

Written by Lauren Pelley
Published in the Toronto Star

Every four years, CivicAction holds a summit to discuss the biggest issues facing the Toronto region. This year, it’s called the Better City Bootcamp, and the goal is improving the prosperity of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

A wide range of voices and experiences will be on hand at the April 28 event, thanks to the collective contributions of more than 600 civic leaders. They’ll be discussing some of the main challenges facing the region based on five themes: housing affordability and the growing need to match seniors’ health care to housing options; mental health and the workplace; childhood health and the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life; public spaces, physical activity, and health; and increased density/weather intensity and the infrastructure needs of tomorrow.

The Star spoke with panellists representing these five themes to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing the GTHA in the years ahead.

Housing affordability & seniors’ health care

Hugh Lawson, director of strategic planning & stakeholder relations, Toronto Community Housing

What do you see as being the biggest challenge facing the GTHA over the next decade?

As people age, they don’t always have a great pension, and finding housing they can afford is hard for them. Toronto Community Housing can be an option, but our buildings are getting older and older — and if we don’t get money to invest, we’ll have to close some of them.

What are the housing issues that come with an aging population?

There’s the affordability, and seniors living on their own as they get older need more support. As people get older, there may be more cognitive issues or physical disabilities. For some of our residents — and it’s probably a growing number — they don’t have much access to support. People want to stay where they live and “age in place,” so services for them need to be available.

Read the full article here.