Municipal expert calls city housing recommendation 'dangerous idea'
Published Thursday, September 12, 2019 6:40PM EDT
"An enormously dangerous idea," is how municipal leadership author Gord Hume describes a plan to appoint a single manager at city hall to lead the turnaround of public housing.
In response to a damning KPMG report, city staff have recommended council oust the board of directors for London Middlesex Community Housing (LMCH) and the Housing Development Corporation, then appoint a municipal manager to be an interim one-person board.
But Hume, a four-time city councillor, warns, “Anytime you have a single person involved in a public agency or public money it is a situation that can be fraught with error and terror.”
Councillor Elizabeth Peloza says the objective is to move quickly to solve the vacancy problem, and then develop a clear path forward.
“There's always concerns of just one person at the helm of a board, but the recommendation is it’s just an interim solution of just the fastest way forward.”
Peloza believes tackling London's housing crisis will require investment in units that are integrated with social supports.
“If we want it to work we are going to have to put more investment in it, more people and expertise.”
Hume believes quick action can still be achieved with more than just a one-member board of directors.
"I would be going with either a temporary small group of city councillors or a larger management team who have authority to act.”
Council members will discuss how to move forward at a special meeting on Monday.