Yesterday, Toronto City Council approved an ambitious strategy to drastically overhaul the creation of affordable housing here. The recommendations in the Generational Transformation of Toronto’s Housing System report aim to tackle the pressing housing shortage head-on by rapidly increasing the number of affordable homes. The overall strategy includes new development models, upwardly revised targets, expedited processes, and the vital involvement of community organizations.

HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan cover page, image from City of Toronto

This step aims to introduce a City-led development model at five selected sites, marking a shift toward a public builder framework, where the City not only facilitates but also leads the creation of new homes. The initiative seeks to increase not only existing targets, but also reshape ownership of these homes, prioritizing public and non-profit entities.

By reinforcing its commitment to meet both provincial and federal housing goals, the City has revised its HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, raising the targets from 40,000 to a staggering 65,000 rent-controlled homes by 2030. This ambitious revision encompasses a diversified housing mix of 6,500 rent-geared-to-income homes, a robust 41,000 affordable rentals, and 17,500 rent-controlled market homes.

Details on household affordability assistance under the HousingTO Plan, image from City of Toronto

In a push to expedite the availability of these homes, 51 City-owned sites have been earmarked to develop between 16,000 and 17,500 new rent-controlled units. These will cater to a spectrum of incomes, including affordable units among market rate rentals. Furthermore, staff have been directed to investigate an additional 40 potential sites to expand this critical pipeline. Complementing this, 31 not-for-profit-owned sites — backed by governmental support — are projected to contribute almost 2,000 affordable rental homes.

Details on households helped under the HousingTO Plan, image from City of Toronto

The City plans to develop five housing-ready sites under a public builder model, chosen for their strategic locations that offer potential for significant community and economic benefits. The selected sites include: 405 Sherbourne Street; 150 Queens Wharf Road, within the CityPlace neighbourhood; 1113-1117 Dundas Street West; 11 Brock Avenue, in Brockton Village; and 25 Bellevue Avenue, located in the Kensington Market neighbourhood, offering a chance to preserve the area's unique cultural and socioeconomic diversity.

An aerial view of 150 Queens Wharf, designed by DTAH for CreateTO

The City's commitment to pledging additional municipal lands and to fast-track projects expedites the construction process and makes use of underutilized land for community benefit. Criteria for land selection prioritizes sites with existing infrastructure, accessibility to services, and the potential for rapid development to meet diverse community needs.

The strategy promises a more streamlined approval process, aiming to prevent delays to the delivery of critical housing projects. This effort is expected to significantly reduce the time it takes to move from planning to construction.

An aerial view looking southeast to 405 Sherbourne Street, designed by SvN Architects + Planners for CreateTO

Furthermore, the City is poised to enhance the involvement of Indigenous, non-profit, and cooperative housing organizations. These entities are crucial in providing affordable and subsidized homes to low- and moderate-income families who have limited housing choices. To bolster this collaborative effort, the report suggests that City Council encourage staff engagement with a wide array of stakeholders. The aim is to create a Toronto Housing Affordability Fund that would lay the financial groundwork for non-profit and public-led housing developments, expected to draw from municipal investments, federal grants, and private sector partnerships.

These initiatives represent a massive effort by the City to confront the housing crisis with solutions that aim to reshape Toronto’s housing landscape for current and future generations.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.