Just days after the City of Toronto identified future affordable Housing Now Phase 2 locations as part of their comprehensive HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan to address housing shortages in the city, another element in the HousingTO plan has been announced. The City of Toronto Modular Housing Initiative was approved by City Council less than one month ago, and after careful evaluation from the City and its real estate arm CreateTO, the first two sites to be recommended for modular housing developments have been revealed.
As part of the goal to build 1,000 new modular homes in Toronto, the plan aims to address homelessness and housing shortages with modular supportive housing, with the initial sites selected expected to provide stable, affordable, high quality housing and support services to 100 individuals experiencing homelessness as early as this coming fall. These timelines are possible with the modular construction method, using prefabricated building elements that are bolted together on site. This style of building, coupled with the program's fast-tracked plan for using as-of-right zoning and planned section of qualified, non-profit housing providers to manage each site, are expected to net quick results.
Sites were selected based on local demand for affordable housing, development potential of the site, local infrastructure, access to public transit, access to health and other community services, as well as zoning and other bylaw considerations. The first pair of locations being recommended for modular housing development are:
- 150 Harrison Street (Ward 9): 44 bachelor apartments on the former site of the 14 Division Police Station near Dovercourt and Dundas.
- 11 Macey Avenue (Ward 20): 56 bachelor apartments near Victoria Park subway station.
The proposed sites would each host three-storey, modular affordable housing buildings with self-contained bachelor units containing kitchens and washrooms, as well as a shared communal kitchen and administrative and program space, supporting those currently experiencing homelessness. Designs of both buildings, included in concept renderings below, are subject to change. Community feedback on these designs is being sought in a series of upcoming public engagement sessions, with additional details available on the City's Modular Housing page.
"As Toronto continues to grow, we are working to find unique and modern ways to address the ongoing challenges that we will face, including the need for more housing options," reads a statement from Toronto Mayor, John Tory. "I have led City Council in supporting the modular housing initiative because it is a key way in which we can provide residents access to stable, affordable, high quality housing as quickly as possible. Through modular housing we can quickly create permanent housing options that will impact the lives of many people in our city."
The first phase buildings tally up to a full capital cost estimated at $20.9 million, with funding being sourced through the City's Development Charges Reserve Fund for Subsidized Housing, and from the Government of Canada through CMHC’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, which has committed $8.25 million in funds and repayable loans. Operating costs for the building' health-related support services and housing subsidies are being sought from the Province.
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