Following on the City of Toronto and CreateTO's 2019 launch of the Housing Now initiative, Mayor John Tory announced today the locations of second phase sites in the plan to support and incentivize the construction of new affordable rental housing within mixed-income and transit-friendly communities on City-owned lands. Today's announcement recommends development on six City-owned properties in addition to the 11 locations recommended in the first phase.

Toronto skyline, image by Jack Landau

The initiative's second phase is expected to create between 1,455 to 1,710 new residential units, this in addition to the 10,750 new residential homes (including approximately 7,800 purpose-built rentals and 3,900 affordable rental homes) being planned through the initial phase. Of the second phase's planned units, approximately 1,060 to 1,240 units would be purpose-built as rentals, with half of this number (530 to 620 units) intended to be affordable rental units geared towards households earning between $21,000 to $56,000 a year. 470 to 495 of the units would be built with ownership tenure.

The new recommended site locations are:

158 Borough Dr.

Located on Scarborough Town Centre lands adjacent to Scarborough Civic Centre Library. Currently a landscaped grass lot.

2444 Eglinton Ave. E.

Located on Eglinton's north service road, adjacent to TTC staff/commuter parking for Kennedy station. Currently home to a single-storey City-owned commercial building.

1627 & 1675 Danforth Ave.

Located just east of Coxwell on the south side of Danforth. Currently home to the TTC Danforth Garage and Danforth-Coxwell Public Library, and site of the future consolidated Toronto Police Service 54/55 Division.

1631 Queen St. E.

Located just east of Coxwell on the south side of Queen. Currently home to a City of Toronto Social Services office.

405 Sherbourne St.

Located just north of Carlton Street on the east side of Sherbourne. Currently home to a Green P parking lot.

150 Queens Wharf Rd.

Located immediately north of the Library District condos development in the CityPlace area. Currently a vacant lot.

The initiative is the latest element of the City’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, a comprehensive ten-year blueprint to address affordable housing issues in Toronto, ranging from homelessness to rental and ownership housing to long-term care for seniors. These needs are being underlined by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which has caused widespread economic and housing challenges for many City residents.

"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," reads a statement from Toronto Mayor John Tory. "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."

The City states that a guiding set of principles shaped the initiative, with the aim to:

  • activate surplus land for maximum public benefit
  • increase development of affordable and market rental homes with a mix of unit types
  • support energy efficient affordable homes for a range of income brackets
  • accommodate existing City and other operations to foster complete communities
  • prioritize the public retention of sites, including long-term land leases
  • support participation by the non-profit and co-op housing sectors

It is intended that there will be engagement with City Councillors and local communities in the planning process for each site.

The plan's projected contribution of new affordable rental units is a key step towards the City's target of approving 40,000 affordable rental homes, including 18,000 supportive homes by 2030.

“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," reads a statement from Ward 13 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, commending the plan while addressing that there is still much more work to do. "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.”

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