Toronto To Increase Supply Of Rental Homes

The City has committed to allocate $36 million in capital funding, through Phase Two of the Rapid Housing Initiative, and $265 million in financial incentives to create more affordable and supportive housing for Indigenous communities by Indigenous organizations. Pics: City of Toronto.

Council has supported implementing Phase Two of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) and establishing a new partnership with the Miziwe Biik Development Corporation to further the development of 5,200 affordable rental homes for the Indigenous community by Indigenous organizations.

These two reports – approved last Friday– were Mayor John Tory’s key items at City Council meeting and help continue to deliver on the City’s commitment to create more affordable and supportive housing for vulnerable and marginalized people experiencing homelessness.

RHI is a federal capital funding program which aims to create new affordable rental housing within a 12-month timeframe for vulnerable and marginalized people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Through Phase One of RHI, in late 2020, Toronto was allocated $203 million to create an estimated 540 new affordable rental homes. Phase Two of RHI was announced by the Government of Canada on June 29, 2021.

Toronto’s allocation for Phase Two of RHI is approximately $132 million under the “Major Cities” stream, which will create a minimum of 233 new affordable rental homes by the end of 2022.

Funding through Phase Two of RHI will support the creation of new permanent affordable and supportive housing the through acquisition of land, and the conversion/rehabilitation of existing buildings to affordable housing as well modular and traditional construction.

The City is leveraging the RHI funding to strengthen partnerships with non-profit and Indigenous housing sectors ensuing more equitable housing outcomes for equity-deserving groups. The City has worked closely with Indigenous and non-profit housing partners to submit additional projects for funding under the RHI ‘Projects stream’, where projects compete nationally for $1 billion in funding.

In total, the City and its partners have submitted almost 1,000 potential new affordable and supportive homes for funding under Phase Two of RHI. Announcements of successful projects are expected in December 2021.

With both reports adopted, the City continues to advance its commitment to truth, reconciliation and justice with Indigenous Peoples. This includes advancing the City’s objective under the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan to increase the supply of new affordable and supportive housing opportunities “For Indigenous, By Indigenous.”

The City will allocate $36 million in capital funding through its guaranteed RHI ‘Cities Stream’ funding (approximately 27 per cent) to support Indigenousowned and led projects. With City Council’s approval to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Miziwe Biik Development Corporation (MBDC), the City moves forward to support the creation of 5,200 new affordable rental and supportive homes for Indigenous residents across the city.

The MBDC was established in 2004 by Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training. Its mission is to serve as a vehicle for the economic advancement and self-sufficiency of the Aboriginal community in the Greater Toronto Area.

As part of this partnership, the MBDC will act as the main intermediary between the City of Toronto and Indigenous housing providers. MBDC will assist in managing the flow of funds to Indigenousled housing providers, troubleshooting issues as they arise, and facilitating the development and operation of up to 5,200 affordable rental and supportive housing units that are culturally respectful and unique to the needs and strengths of the Indigenous community.

Additionally, Council approved $265 million in City financial incentives for these new affordable and supportive homes through the Open Door program. Future tenants of affordable and supportive homes created as a result of the adopted reports includes Indigenous peoples, Black and other racialized residents, persons with disabilities, women, seniors, and other people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.

These residents will have access to safe, secure and affordable homes in addition to a range of wraparound supports necessary to improve their overall health and well-being. The actions and investments adopted at Council today will help the City realize its 24-Month COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Response Plan aimed at delivering 3,000 new affordable rental homes, including 2,000 supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness.

The City is on track to create 1,248 new supportive homes by spring 2022 and expects to increase this number once successful Phase Two RHI projects are announced. The City has extended its gratitude to the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario for investing in much-needed affordable and supportive housing in Toronto.

While the recent commitments will undoubtedly improve outcomes for many vulnerable and marginalized residents, enhanced investments are urgently needed to fully deliver on the City’s 24-Month COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Response Plan before the end of 2022 and the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan by 2030.

This includes a commitment from the Province of Ontario to provide essential ongoing operating funding beyond 2021 for new supportive homes created. Mayor John Tory said: “The City of Toronto, with the help and support of our federal and provincial government partners, is investing in getting affordable housing and supportive housing built for people who need it the most in our city. This needed housing is being built in months not years.

“And the Rapid Housing Initiative is helping the City to realize its 24-month COVID-19 housing recovery plan aimed at delivering 3,000 permanent affordable and supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness. I’m also very pleased that we can move forward with this partnership with the Miziwe Biik Development Corporation and work with them to increase the supply of Indigenous-owned and led, culturally-responsive affordable homes in our City. Taking meaningful actions such as this are a key step towards truth, reconciliation and justice with our Indigenous community.”

Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee , said: “As a city, we need to leverage all available funding from other orders of government to create homes with support services for the most vulnerable residents living here. I am very excited about the opportunity to also partner with Indigenous groups to create the affordable housing that is desperately needed.”

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