TORONTO: Mayor John Tory and Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) have announced the first two Toronto locations under the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).
These sites will provide approximately 334 homes with support services for people in need and will be ready for occupancy later this year.
The creation of these new homes is an integral part of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, as well as the COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Response Plan. The first two locations are 877 Yonge St. and 222 Spadina Ave.
Both buildings will be dedicated to women, Indigenous residents, racialized groups, seniors, people with disabilities and people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and will offer a variety of support services to the tenants. Both buildings will provide affordable housing for a minimum of 99 years.
The City purchased a 15-storey former retirement residence at 877 Yonge St. that ceased general operations in 2019 to provide new homes for approximately 250 people and support their health and well being.
The building will have studio and one-bedroom apartments with their own bathroom and kitchen. The building will include amenities such as shared laundry, a communal area and a programming space.
The building will be operated by St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society, an established non-profit housing provider with experience in the community. St. Clare’s will bring professional building management expertise to 877 Yonge St., and coordinate supports for residents that meet each individual’s unique needs.
Experienced staff will be in the building 24/7 to connect residents to a range of wrap-around supports and services including health care, health-related services and community-based programs.
Residents will move into in two phases, with the first 127 homes anticipated to be ready for May 2021 and the remainder anticipated to be ready for occupancy in December 2021.
The purchase price of the residential portion of the building was $94.9 million, which will be covered by RHI funding.
At 222 Spadina Ave., the City purchased a three-floor former hotel in a multi-use building to provide new homes for approximately 84 people and support their health and well being.
The building will have a studio, onebedroom and two-bedroom apartments with their own bathroom and kitchen. The building will include amenities such as shared laundry, a communal area and programming space.
A building operator and service provider will be selected through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and will be in place before tenants move in. Occupancy is anticipated to take place in December 2021.
The purchase price for the three floors in the building was $22.3 million, which will be covered by RHI funding.
The City is also supporting both buildings though it’s Open Door program by providing relief from property taxes for the affordable housing component and exemptions from Building Permit fees and charges. To meet the urgent need for creating permanent housing with support services and alleviate the pressure on the city’s shelter system, the City will be fast-tracking the planning approvals.
As previously announced, the RHI is delivering $1 billion in grant funding nationally to rapidly create new affordable rental housing in response to the urgent housing needs of vulnerable and marginalized individuals.
As part of the Major Cities Stream, the City has been allocated $203.3 million to create approximately 540 new affordable homes.
These new homes will be prioritized for people experiencing homelessness with a minimum of 20 per cent allocated to Indigenous communities and 20 per cent to women and girls. The other homes will support seniors, youth and racialized communities.
On April 7, the Province of Ontario confirmed $15.4 million in operating funding for 2021 dedicated to supportive housing in Toronto. With this new funding, the City will be able to fully fund support services for 1,098 homes, which will be ready for occupancy this year including the homes created at 877 Yonge St. and 222 Spadina Ave.
The City is also working with Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness and its non-profit housing and health partners to identify additional supportive housing opportunities and to provide a wider range of support services onsite.
Mayor Tory said: “I want to thank the Government of Canada for coming forward with this investment that will help us continue to meet our housing goals.
We have remained committed to increasing the number of affordable housing options in Toronto and ensuring that we are providing support to those who need it the most.
“The housing we are announcing today will create a more wellrounded, full-service support system for vulnerable residents in our city. I also want to thank the Government of Ontario for working with us to invest in supportive housing.
“This demonstrates how all our governments can work together to help people. Supportive housing has proven to work and is the type of housing we need to create for people in need of a stable, long-term and welcoming place to call home.”
Ahmed Hussen said: “Our Government is taking steps, right now, to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home.
“Our investments will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most by quickly providing new affordable housing units to vulnerable individuals and families in Toronto, while addressing the unique barriers faced by at-risk communities. Our Government’s plan under the National Housing Strategy continues to provide affordable housing for those who need it most from coast to coast to coast.”