Second Phase of the Housing Now Initiative released; new City-owned sites identified to create more affordable homes in Toronto

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Today, Mayor John Tory announced the release of the Phase Two sites of Housing Now, a signature initiative to increase the supply of new affordable rental housing within mixed-income, mixed-use and transit-oriented communities on City-owned lands across Toronto.

Housing Now is a key component of the City’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan (HousingTO) and contributes towards the City's target of approving 40,000 affordable rental homes, including 18,000 supportive homes over the next 10 years. HousingTO is a comprehensive blueprint to assist more than 341,000 households over the next ten years by addressing the need across the housing spectrum – from homelessness to affordable rental and ownership housing. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an even greater number of residents experiencing housing challenges while also underscoring the importance of having a home in order to practice physical distancing and self-isolation. The City is looking to

expedite delivery of the HousingTO plan in partnership with other levels of government in order to quickly provide more housing options for residents.

This second phase of the Housing Now Initiative is expected to create between 1,455 to 1,710 new residential units. Approximately 1,060 to 1,240 units will be purpose-built rentals, of which half (530 to 620) will be affordable rental units – affordable to households earning between $21,000 to $56,000 a year. There will also be 470 to 495 ownership units. The proposed sites are close to transit as well as commercial and employment areas.

The new recommended site locations are:

• 158 Borough Dr.

• 2444 Eglinton Ave. E.

• 1627 & 1675 Danforth Ave.

• 1631 Queen St. E.

• 405 Sherbourne St.

• 150 Queens Wharf Rd.

More details on Phase Two of the Housing Now Initiative can be found in the staff report: app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.CC21.3.

Work is well underway to advance Phase One of the Housing Now Initiative which will deliver 10,750 new residential homes. Approximately 7,800 of these homes will be purpose-built rental housing, including 3,900 homes which will be affordable to low and moderate-income households.

The Housing Now Initiative is guided by the following principles:

• Activate sites to achieve the highest possible public benefits;

• Maximize the development of affordable and market rental homes with a mix of unit types and sizes;

• Create energy efficient homes affordable for a diverse range of incomes, including deeply affordable homes;

• Appropriately address and accommodate existing City and other operations and uses which increase city-building opportunities to create complete communities;

• Prioritize the public retention of sites, including long-term land leases;

• Support participation by the non-profit and co-op housing sectors and help build capacity in the sectors; and,

• Actively engage with City Councillors and local communities in the planning and development of each site.

Quotes:

"The need to increase the supply of permanent affordable rental housing is more urgent than ever and will make a profound contribution towards Toronto’s socio and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Implementation of the Housing Now Initiative and our overarching HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan will require a strong partnership among all orders of government – and I continue to work hard to ensure our plan is fully funded."

- Mayor John Tory

"The pandemic has highlighted that access to a safe, secure and affordable home is essential to a person's health and well-being, and the overall well-being of our society. Housing Now is a critical component of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan and is an innovative way to leverage City resources and work with our partners in the private, non-profit and co-op sectors to build new rental and affordable housing to achieve the highest possible public benefits."

- Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, (Ward 9 Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair

“Increasing housing opportunities for residents will also make an important contribution towards our socio-economic recovery from the pandemic. Specifically, investments in residential construction deliver one of the largest economic multiplier effects, with a total of 10 jobs created (including five direct jobs and five additional indirect and induced jobs) for each one million dollars invested in housing. Expanding programs such as Housing Now will help get people back to work, while creating a range of needed housing.”

- Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre)

"The need for affordable housing is growing every day in our city. We have to come together as communities to make sure we're creating a full range of housing options to meet the diverse needs of all Torontonians. I'm proud to welcome two Housing Now sites to Beaches-East York and am looking forward to helping make affordable housing a reality for hundreds of Toronto families. As the East End continues growing from strength to strength, these sites will not only bring much needed housing relief but also investment and positive transformation."

- Councillor Brad Bradford (Ward 19 Beaches-East York)

“We are in the midst of a housing crisis and without adding new affordable rental housing urgently, the situation will only get worse. Increasing access to a wide range of housing options by unlocking the City’s own real estate enables us to build faster the housing we really need. I am pleased to see that a minimum of two-thirds of all residential units created on the Phase Two sites will be purpose-built rental housing with at least half of them designated as affordable rental housing. We can’t eradicate homelessness overnight but this much-improved Second Phase of the Housing Now Initiative is definitely moving in the right direction.”

- Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 13 Toronto Centre)

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the depth of the connection between affordable housing and public health. People need to have access to a range of housing solutions, from supportive housing to affordable rental units, in order to protect their own health and the health of others. The Housing Now program's use of City-owned lands will help increase the supply of affordable housing in Toronto, at a time when need is higher than ever."

- Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York)

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture, and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit toronto.ca or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CityofToronto, on Instagram at instagram.com/cityofto or on Facebook at facebook.com/cityofto.