City Of Toronto Opens A New 44-Unit Modular Supportive Housing Building

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TORONTO: Mayor John Tory last week opened the City of Toronto’s second modular supportive housing building at 321 Dovercourt Rd., (formerly known as 150 Harrison St.) a part of Phase I of the City’s Modular Housing Initiative.

Along with the recently-opened 11 Macey Ave., the two housing properties provide a total of 100 new affordable, supportive homes.

The 44 new homes will house individuals experiencing homelessness and complement the City’s 2020-21 winter service plan to ensure safe and welcoming places for people experiencing homelessness during the winter.

The Mayor was joined for the virtual announcement by Julie Dzerowicz, Member of Parliament for Davenport; Parm Gill, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair.

Modular housing is high-quality, pre-fabricated housing that is transported to the site for assembly. The building at 321 Dovercourt Rd. has 44 studio apartments, is three storeys high and includes a common room, a dining room, program space, administrative offices and a commercial kitchen that can provide on-site meals for residents.

Each home is approximately 300 square feet and comes with a builtin kitchen (including a stovetop), microwave and fridge. They are also furnished with a twin bed, a lounge chair, a dining table and chairs and a dresser. Twenty-five per cent of the modular homes are accessible.

The Neighbourhood Group (TNG) and Cota Health were selected to operate and provide support services at both locations. They will provide 24/7 on-site staffing, as well as support services to tenants, including:

• Housing stability and eviction prevention
• Connections with community supports and other services such as primary healthcare, volunteer and employment opportunities, and help to access income support programs
• Personal recovery relating to mental health and substance use challenges
• Establishing Personal Crisis Response Plans
• Help with medication reminders and safe storage
• Harm reduction and relapse prevention counseling and support
• Help with daily living activities
• Rent collection and arrears payment plans
• Support to help residents reconnect with friends and family

A Community Liaison Committee (CLC) has been established to foster and maintain positive relationships, information sharing and dialogue between the building operators, the residents and the broader community.

The City’s Modular Housing Initiative will see 250 new homes built in two phases. The first 100 homes are Phase I. In Phase II, the City will deliver an additional 150 supportive homes in 2021. The full capital cost for the 250 homes is $47.5 million. Funding of $28.75 million is coming from the City’s Development Charges Reserve Fund for Subsidized Housing, and $18.75 million is from the Government of Canada through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund in grants and recoverable loans.

In addition to the Modular Housing Initiative, other programs will help create even more modular supportive housing in 2021. As part of the Government of Canada’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), the City has been allocated $203.3 million to create a minimum of 540 new permanently affordable homes, some of which will be modular.

The cost of acquisition of land and construction of modular housing; acquisition of land and existing buildings for the purpose of conversion to affordable housing; and acquisition of land and rehabilitation of housing are eligible expenses under the RHI program. The City has requested operating funding for wraparound support services and housing subsidies from the Province.

The Modular Housing Initiative is one component of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, which targets the approval of 40,000 new affordable rental homes with 18,000 supportive homes, including 1,000 modular homes, to help increase housing stability for Toronto residents over the next 10 years.

Mayor John Tory said: “Modular Housing has proven to be a quick and efficient way for our city to increase the supply of affordable housing in our city. These sites provide vulnerable residents in our city with a safe, stable and welcoming place to call home, and access to vital supports and services.

“Building affordable housing in Toronto has been a top priority for me as Mayor, but I know this cannot be done on our own. I want to thank the federal government for providing funding for this project and the Province of Ontario for responding to our request so that we could get these homes built as quickly as possible. Seeing our Modular Housing projects come to fruition is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together.”

Julie Dzerowicz, Member of Parliament for Davenport, said: “This new supportive modular housing build at 321 Dovercourt Rd. will provide much-needed housing to our community, with the aim of helping those who have experienced homelessness and are exiting Toronto’s shelter system.

Through the federal government’s National Housing Strategy, we’re striving to reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent by 2027-2028. With all levels of government working together, we know we can achieve this ambitious goal.”

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said: “Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Through our government’s National Housing Strategy, we are investing in innovative approaches to housing that will help build more affordable homes across the country. We are proud to partner with the City of Toronto on this modular housing build, and look forward to providing more affordable housing for residents across Toronto.”

Parm Gill, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said: “COVID-19 has heightened the need to get critical housing projects approved and completed faster. That’s why the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, at the request of the City of Toronto, issued a Minister’s Zoning Order to help get this innovative project completed and get vulnerable people into the housing they need today.”

Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair, said: “I am excited to welcome the new residents to their brand-new home at 321 Dovercourt Rd.

These residents will have their own, affordable apartments within this beautiful neighborhood, as well as access to services that will help support their health and well-being. I wish all new residents every success.”

Bill Sinclair, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Neighbourhood Group, added: “The Neighbourhood Group is thrilled to be involved in this vital work of providing more permanent, affordable and supportive housing to vulnerable people in Toronto. We look forward to welcoming the new residents, meeting our new neighbors and working closely with our partner Cota.”

Paul Bruce, Chief Executive Officer, Cota Health, said: “Cota is excited to be part of another new modular housing development at 321 Dovercourt Rd. It has created desperately needed permanent affordable housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness in our city. We look forward to working with the Building Operator (The Neighbourhood Group) and to providing support to tenants as they transition to their home and begin a new chapter in their lives.”