Earlier this week, Habitat for Humanity GTA and The Daniels Corporation celebrated 20 years of working together to provide affordable homeownership for those in need. Private developer Daniels has been a partner with Habitat GTA—a non-profit housing organization with a goal of providing affordable housing to low income families—donating 10 homesites across the Greater Toronto Area, and secured partially completed townhomes and condominium suites to be completed by the Habitat and Daniels team in conjunction with the new homeowners. Thirty five working low income families have benefitted from the program, and now two more in two different Daniels FirstHome™ communities in Brampton have keys to their new homes.

The Hassan family with Daniels's Vice President, Don Pugh and Executive Vice PreThe Hassan family with Daniels's Vice President, Don Pugh and Executive Vice President, Niall Haggart, image by Bill Hertha

The Hassans were one of two families to receive the symbolic keys at the ceremony. Matriarch Shamis Hassan's statement reads “Being a homeowner is a great change for my children and I. Due to my income, the dream of owning a home in a safe neighbourhood was very bleak, but Habitat for Humanity GTA made it possible. Now I can feel safe, comfortable and confident about the next chapter of my life, and the future of my children.” Habitat GTA has now provided homes for 330 families, Daniels having partnered on 35 of them, the largest contribution by a private company over Habitat GTA's history.

Daniels's Don Pugh is given a plaque by Ene Underwood and Daniels VP of ConstrucDaniels's Don Pugh is given a plaque by Ene Underwood and Daniels VP of Construction, Wayne Dempsey, image by Bill Hertha

Ene Underwood, CEO at Habitat GTA praised the partnership saying that “Daniels is a leading light in addressing the affordable housing challenges in the GTA." "Their innovative approach to tackle the shortage of affordable homeownership solutions in the GTA alongside Habitat is a model of how developers in the residential housing industry can give back to the communities where they live and work.”

In Toronto's current housing market, market rates are unreachable for many families, and waiting lists for affordable housing are at all time highs. With some organizations like the Toronto Community Housing Corporation seeing average time on the waitlists at 10 years, homeownership is out of reach for many. Don Pugh, Vice President of the Daniels Corporation emphasized the need to "encourage others in [the] industry to think outside the box to include affordable housing into their communities and help non-profit housing providers like Habitat enhance the quality of life for everyone.”

Regent Park revitalization, Block 27, Daniels, TCHC, Toronto, RAW DesignBlock 27 at Regent Park, image by Forum contributor skycandy

Toronto Community Housing is another partner with whom Daniels has also pioneered socially conscious housing initiatives, most notably on the Regent Park Revitalization. A previously marginalized island in Toronto, TCHC and Daniels' innovative approach has reintegrated it into the surrounding city as they have rebuilt it. Regent Park is now regularly cited as one of the most successful neighbourhood rebuilding projects anywhere.

In both partnerships, Daniels' has extended their knowhow to help make home ownership possible for more people, helping those affected by the cycle of poverty to climb out of it and into the middle class. Stressing that Toronto's heated housing market makes initiatives like this more important than ever, Don Pugh, Vice President of The Daniels Corporation, stated at the event  “We encourage others in our industry to think outside the box to include affordable housing into their communities and help non-profit housing providers like Habitat enhance the quality of life for everyone.”