Canada Supports Rapid Housing Project in Toronto
June 4, 2021
Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that affordable housing is key to Canada’s recovery for regions across the country, including right here in Toronto.
Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), alongside Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Member of Parliament for Parkdale – High Park, John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, Ana Bailão, Deputy Mayor of Toronto, Gord Perks, Councillor of Parkdale – High Park, and Dr. Kevin Smith, President & CEO of University Health Network (UHN), announced details of an approximately $14 million investment through the Major Cities Stream of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) for the immediate construction of 51 affordable low-rise apartment homes.
These 51 homes will be part of innovative and cost-effective modular supportive housing build located at 150 Dunn Ave, for those who are exiting or at risk of homelessness, with a focus on seniors, women and racialized persons. Modular supportive housing provides a rapid, dignified response to connect people experiencing and at risk of homelessness with homes and appropriate supports to help them achieve housing stability.
This project is delivered in partnership with all levels of government, the University Health Network (UHN) Gattuso Centre for Social Medicine and the United Way of Greater Toronto (UWGT). The support services model for this site will be developed by University Health Network (UHN) Gattuso Centre for Social Medicine, the City of Toronto and community partners. It will incorporate a range of health and social services to be delivered onsite. Through this partnership with UHN, residents will also be connected to primary care and other health services within the hospital’s Parkdale campus.
Delivered by CMHC, under the National Housing Strategy (NHS), RHI provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable housing by covering costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction; conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential homes; and, rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned to affordable multi-residential homes. Investments made under the RHI are expected to support thousands of construction-related jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
“Our Government is taking steps, right now, to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home. Our investments will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most by quickly providing new affordable housing units to vulnerable Canadians in Toronto, while addressing the unique barriers faced by at-risk communities, including seniors and racialized Canadians. The Rapid Housing Initiative has been a tremendous success — that’s why through Budget 2021, we will increase our total program funding to $2.5 billion in order to rapidly build much-needed affordable homes across Canada. This is the National Housing Strategy at work.”
— The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
“Our Government is working hard to ensure that housing is available, safe and affordable for all. Investments with our municipal and provincial partners under the Rapid Housing Initiative’s Major Cities Stream are critical in communities like Parkdale, because they quickly create new affordable and safe homes for vulnerable people, including newcomers, seniors and racialized communities.”
— Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Member of Parliament for Parkdale – High Park
“The new modular homes with supports planned for 150 Dunn Ave. are so much more than just a place to live. These are homes within a vibrant and welcoming community that will improve the health and well-being of those who will live there, as well as the surrounding community. Thanks to our strong partnership with the other governments and this very unique partnership with UHN, United Way Greater Toronto and their community partners, we can deliver a new model of care that responds to the unique needs of residents and will make a real difference in their lives. I look forward to opening these new supportive housing units for residents very soon.”
— Toronto Mayor, John Tory
“We are a city that cares and a city dedicated to improving the quality of life for all our residents. This new social medicine model will help ensure that some of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our city get the housing and supports that they deserve.”
— Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee
“Parkdale is a community that embraces and supports everyone. We welcome this development, which will expand supportive housing in Parkdale.”
— Councillor Gord Perks (Parkdale High Park)
“We know that our most frequent users of hospital services are those without stable, safe housing and are in need of home-based services. Approximately 230 individuals represent more than 15,000 visits to UHN’s Emergency Departments because they don’t have access to better alternatives. This first-in-Canada initiative by UHN, made possible through partnerships with the City of Toronto and United Way of Greater Toronto, will make a meaningful difference in the lives of those most in need — a need which has been made even more urgent and apparent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful to the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City for these needed investments.”
— Dr. Kevin Smith, President & CEO, University Health Network
- These homes will remain affordable in perpetuity and future residents of these homes will pay no more than 30% of their income (or the shelter allowance of their income support benefit) on rent.
- The RHI is a $1 billion program to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing.
- Nationally, at 4,700 units, the RHI has exceeded its initial target of 3000 permanent affordable housing units thanks to the support of the provincial, territorial and municipal governments as well as Indigenous governing bodies.
- The RHI has received significant interest from Indigenous groups, which resulted in nearly 40% of all units created under the program to be targeted to Indigenous peoples.
- Budget 2021 provides an additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative in 2021 – 22 to address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by providing them with adequate affordable housing.
- At least 25 per cent of the Rapid Housing Initiative funding will go towards women-focused housing projects with units constructed within 12 months of when funding is provided to program applicants.
- Overall, this new funding will add a minimum of 4,500 new affordable units to Canada’s housing supply, building on the 4,700 units already funded in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement through its $1 billion investment.
- The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and others who are among the most vulnerable, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2+, racialized groups, Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.
- Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $70+ billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home — this includes more than $13 billion committed through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement.
As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford, and that meets their needs. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Information on this news release:
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation