Toronto Seeking Land And Buildings Appropriate For Up To 40,000 Affordable Rental Homes

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Representative image by Miten Patel of Pexels.

TORONTO: The City of Toronto is actively seeking to identify partners, sites and properties that may be suitable to support the goal of creating up to 40,000 affordable rental homes, including 18,000 supportive homes over the next 10 years.

Following the announcement that the City will receive $203.3 million through the Government of Canada’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), work is well underway to compile a list of properties and sites that could potentially be purchased or rapidly developed to quickly create new permanent housing options.

To build upon the City’s existing list of properties that would be appropriate for building modular housing and renovation and/or conversion to housing in 2021 and beyond, the City invites government, private, institutional, non-profit, co-op, charity and multi-faith organizations and other landlords to partner with the City through identifying vacant sites that could be activated for modular housing development; non-residential properties that could be converted to residential; and buildings that are in disrepair and in need of repair and rehabilitation to be used for residential purposes.

The City is requesting information on sites available for acquisition that meet the following criteria:
• Modular: vacant, flat, unencumbered sites approximately 25,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet (or 0.57 acre to 0.68 acre) in size, with no material environmental concerns that are located in a Neighbourhoods, Apartment Neighbourhoods or Mixed-Use area (Official Plan Designation).

•Conversion/Renovation: commercial/institutional/non-residential sites that result in new housing stock (including previous housing sites that have been removed from the rental housing stock), 15,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet, that can support between 20 to 70 individual units (each 200 to 600 sq feet).

• All sites must be in close proximity to existing/planned transit and social services (such as community and employment centres, libraries, health facilities) and be available in the immediate/short term in order to allow for occupancy within 12 months. More details including additional criteria and how to submit proposals are found the city website. All proposals are to be submitted to the City by Monday, November 16 at 4 p.m.

The City thanks all organizations for submitting proposals. City staff will notify those entities whose properties meet the program criteria. Further transaction details will be discussed on a case-by-case basis. The Government of Canada, through CMHC, has launched the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).

A $1 billion program to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing. The initiative provides capital contributions (upon signing a funding agreement with CMHC) under two streams to expedite the delivery of affordable housing.

The RHI will:
• Support the creation of up to 3,000 new permanently affordable housing units
• Cover the construction of modular housing, as well as the acquisition of land, and the conversion/rehabilitation of existing buildings to affordable housing
• Aim to commit all funds before March 31, 2021, and ensure housing is available within 12 months of agreements

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