Mayor John Tory was joined by the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, along with Julie Dzerowicz, Member of Parliament for Davenport; James Maloney, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore; and Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair, to announce seven new affordable and supportive housing developments, as part of Phase Two of the federal Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).
In total, these seven projects will create 260 new affordable and supportive homes in Toronto and will grow the capacity and expertise of Toronto’s non-profit housing development sector. The projects being announced today are being led by:
Wigwamen Incorporated, 525 Markham Rd.Akwa Honsta Non-Profit Aboriginal Homes, 136 Kingston Rd.St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society, 1120 Ossington Ave.Canadian Helen Keller Centre, 150 Eighth St.WoodGreen Community Housing, 60 Bowden St. and 1080 Queen St. E.St. Felix Centre, 25 Augusta Ave.
RHI funding will enable the rapid creation of new supportive and affordable homes, and two-thirds of the homes also will provide wraparound support services and be prioritized for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Two projects being led by Wigwamen and Akwa Honsta will create 86 deeply affordable homes for Indigenous peoples and reflect the City of Toronto’s earlier commitment to allocate more than 20 per cent of its total RHI Phase 2 funding to Indigenous-led developments. In addition, more than 40 per cent of the new homes will be prioritized for women-led households.
In addition to capital funding through RHI, the City has applied its Open Door program incentives to these projects, providing relief to Indigenous and non-profit partners from development charges, planning and building fees and, subject to Toronto City Council approval, will waive property taxes for the duration of affordability, in most cases for more than 40 years. The City is also supporting the rapid delivery of these sites through the Concept 2 Keys programs’ priority development review program.
These projects will advance the 24-month COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Recovery Response Plan aimed at delivering 3,000 new affordable and supportive rental homes, including 2,000 supportive homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and 1,000 housing benefits by the end of 2022.
RHI is a federal capital funding program that aims to rapidly create new affordable rent for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The second phase of RHI was announced by the Government of Canada on June 29, 2021, which provided an opportunity for the City and non-profit community partners to submit an investment plan for funding consideration. Within RHI program parameters, the City worked with local indigenous and non-profit housing partners to apply for funding.
The City has set an ambitious target of approving 18,000 new supportive homes over 10 years in the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. Today’s announcement includes new capital funding for supportive housing projects that will support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to achieve housing stability and begin improving their health and well-being.