On February 5, 2020, City of Toronto staff released the Plan to Create Supportive Housing Opportunities report, which outlines a series of approaches that, if approved by City Council, would create 600 units of supportive housing this year.

The report highlights several strategies — both currently underway and to be pursued — to reach the target of creating 18,000 units of supportive housing over the next ten years, as outlined in the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. The Plan, which was approved by City Council in December 2019, established a target of 40,000 new affordable rental homes.

"The report released (this week) gives us a roadmap as a City to add 600 supportive housing units this year,” noted Toronto Mayor John Tory. “This is exactly the type of innovative thinking that I have been encouraging our staff to undertake and I am grateful to them for their efforts in this regard.”

80 Danforth Ave supportive housing building, image via Google Street View

The HousingTO Plan identified that adding 18,000 new supportive housing units is critical to addressing homelessness and the housing needs of vulnerable residents in the city. The report released this week recommends a multi-pronged approach that will enable people experiencing chronic homelessness to achieve housing stability in private market rental units, through existing supports such as the Home for Good program. It also includes the renovation and conversion of existing housing units into supportive housing opportunities, conversion of shelter sites into supportive housing and use of modular housing.

“We need to continue to create as many housing opportunities as we can, to continue to manage the flow of new people becoming homeless,” said Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee Ana Bailão.

The capital costs for 600 units is expected to range between $160 million to $213 million, and will be funded primarily through various federal-provincial funding streams identified in the report. In the plan, City Staff recommend Council request the federal and provincial governments, as part of their 2020 budgets, to commit capital and operating funding to support the creation of 1,800 new units of supportive housing annually, to reduce homelessness in Toronto.

6250 Bathurst St supportive housing bulding, image via Google Street View

The Supportive Housing Services program operated by the City of Toronto is a community-based service promoting independent living to eligible residents in designated buildings. The Plan to Create Supportive Housing Opportunities report will be brought to the Planning and Housing Committee for consideration on February 12, 2020.

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