Toronto Welcomes Residents To First Modular, Supportive Housing Building

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The interior living area at the 11 Macey Avenue building. Pic: City of Toronto

TORONTO: The City of Toronto has opened its first modular, supportive housing building.

After less than eight months from Council approval to occupancy, the building at 11 Macey Ave., part of the City’s Modular Housing Initiative, is opening today.

The City of Toronto is also getting ready to open its second modular, supportive housing building at 150 Harrison St. for a total of 100 new affordable, supportive homes within the next several weeks.

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

The building at 11 Macey Ave. has 56 studio apartments and the building at 150 Harrison St. has 44 studio apartments. Each building is three-storeys high and will include a common room, dining room, program space and administrative offices.

The Neighbourhood Group and COTA Health were selected to operate and provide support services at both locations.

The operators will provide 24/7 on-site staffing and will offer a number of supports to tenants, including:
• housing stability and eviction prevention
• harm reduction and relapse prevention
• support with daily living activities, and
• connections with community supports and other services such as:
o primary care healthcare
o volunteer and employment opportunities
o income assistance programs including Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, Public Guardian and Trustee, as well as banking services.

Preliminary artist’s rendering of the Macey Avenue entrance. Pic: City of Toronto

A Community Liaison Committee (CLC) has already been established and will be continued by the operators. The goal of the CLC is to foster and maintain positive relationships, information sharing and dialogue between the building operators, the residents and the broader community.

Modular housing is high-quality housing built in a factory-controlled setting and transported to the site for assembly. Each home is approximately 300 square feet and comes with a built-in kitchen (including a stove top), microwave and fridge.

The homes are furnished with a twin bed frame and mattress, a lounge chair, dining table and chairs and a dresser. Twenty-five per cent of the homes are accessible.

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.

The kitchen and living space at the 11 Macey Modular Housing buidling. Pic: City of Toronto

The City has requested operating funding for health-related support services and housing subsidies from the Province.

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 417 new permanently affordable homes.

The RHI can cover 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.

The Modular Housing Initiative is one component of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, which currently has more than 65 projects underway that will add almost 9,000 new permanent affordable rental homes once completed.

More information about the plan is available online: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/community-partners/affordablehousing-partners/housingto2020-2030-action-plan/

Mayor John Tory said: “We have worked to be able to quickly welcome 56 residents to their brand-new home with support services.

“The City’s Modular Housing Initiative is an innovative and cost-effective way in which we are building affordable housing while providing a quick, long-term response to help those experiencing homelessness. A big component of our housing plan is to invest in and create more supportive housing options which will help ensure that people are able to get the services they need. We know we need to build housing options quickly, modular housing is an innovative way for us to speed up the process and provide housing stability for residents across this city, “ Tory added.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has collaborated with the City of Toronto to create an impactful initiative to assist people experiencing homelessness in Canada’s largest city.

With the help of $18.75 million in grants and recoverable loans from the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, the City of Toronto will build 250 modular units.

The $47.5-million project is divided into 2 phases and will create permanent, high-quality homes. This will help ensure all residents of Toronto have a home that they can afford and that meets their needs.

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