City of Toronto announces the next two affordable supportive housing sites as part of Phase Two of its Modular Housing Initiative

Today, Mayor John Tory announced the details of the second phase of the City of Toronto's Modular Housing Initiative (MHI). The two sites announced today will create approximately 128 modular homes, 64 at each of the City-owned sites, which are located at 175 Cummer Ave., next to Willowdale Manor, and on the corner lot at Trenton Ave. and Cedarvale Ave. The new modular homes will provide stable, affordable housing and support services to individuals experiencing homelessness.

Mayor Tory was joined at the virtual announcement by the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), MP Ali Ehsassi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Innovation and Industry) and Member of Parliament for Willowdale, Ana Bailão, Deputy Mayor of Toronto and the Chair of the City's Planning and Housing Committee, Councillor John Filion (Willowdale) and Councillor Brad Bradford (Beaches-East York).

The City and CreateTO staff evaluated City-owned and controlled land across Toronto using criteria that included: local demand for affordable housing, development potential of the site, current environmental status, local infrastructure, access to public transit, access to health and other community services, as well as the zoning by-law and other considerations. The site on Cummer Ave. is currently owned by Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). City staff are in the process of identifying a third City-owned/controlled site that will be appropriate for the development of the next modular housing site under Phase Two. It is expected that this site will be selected and announced by spring 2021.

Local residents will have an opportunity to learn more about these projects and to provide input into design elements during upcoming virtual community engagement sessions beginning the week of March 8. Details on how to participate in this process are being mailed to local residents and are also available on the Modular Housing Initiative website: https://www.toronto.ca/modularhousing

NRB Modular Solutions was the successful proponent of the request for proposal (RFP) issued by CreateTO and has been selected as the building manufacturer. They are working with a team of consultants to prepare site plan applications for each site, which will be submitted to the City for review. Once the site plan application is approved, construction of the modular homes can begin. The City will select qualified non-profit housing providers to operate the homes and provide support services.

The City’s MHI, as approved by City Council on April 30, 2020, consists of two phases. The full capital costs for Phase Two are estimated at $26.6 million. The City’s Development Charges Reserve Fund for Subsidized Housing is contributing $16.1 million while the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, has committed $10.5 million in grants and recoverable loans.

Approximately $3.1 million in annual operating funding is requested from the Province for health-related support services and housing subsidies for the residents of the 128 homes at these two sites.

Modular housing is prefabricated in a factory and then transported to the site where it is assembled and can be implemented at a lower cost and in a shorter timeframe than traditional housing construction models. The first phase of the MHI, which included two sites, 11 Macey Ave. and 321 Dovercourt Rd., was completed within nine months and provided 100 affordable supportive homes for individuals experiencing homelessness. Modular housing provides a unique opportunity to respond rapidly to Toronto's urgent homelessness situation, while also reducing pressure on the City’s shelter system.

In addition to the MHI, other programs will help create even more modular supportive housing in 2021. As part of the Government of Canada’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), the City has been allocated $203.3 million to create a minimum of 540 new permanent affordable homes, some of which will be modular. The City has requested operating funding for wrap-around support services and housing subsidies from the Province. City Council has also requested additional provincial investments for community agencies providing mental health, addiction and other health services.

The MHI is one component of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. The plan targets the approval of 40,000 new affordable rental homes with 18,000 supportive homes, including 1,000 modular homes, to help increase housing stability for Toronto residents over the next 10 years. More information about the plan is available online: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/community-partners/affordable-housing-partners/housingto-2020-2030-action-plan/

More details on the two proposed modular housing sites can be found in the staff report:  http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/decisionBodyProfile.do?function=doPrepare&decisionBodyId=1943#Meeting-2021.PH21

Quotes:

"Increasing the supply of affordable housing has been a top priority for me as Mayor. We have set out an ambitious set of goals through our HousingTO Action Plan to increase the supply using innovative and modern ideas like Modular Housing. Modular housing has enabled us to act quickly by building new homes in months, not years while leveraging underutilized properties that the City already owns. I want to thank the Federal government for being great partners and for helping us move forward with getting supportive housing built. We are having proactive and positive conversations with the Province on much-needed funding towards the operating costs as well as health-related support services and housing subsidies at these sites. Building supportive housing makes sense and is a good investment for the health of our residents and our communities. This partnership model for building and operating new supportive housing, with support from all orders of government and community partners, is critical to supporting the health and well-being of our city and its residents. In order for us to meet our housing goals we will need to continue to work with other levels of government, private and non-profit partners to ensure that everyone in this city has a place to call home.”

– Mayor John Tory

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Through our government’s National Housing Strategy, we are investing in innovative approaches to housing that will help build more affordable homes across the country. We are a proud partner on the Modular Housing Initiative and look continue to make similar key investments to provide more affordable housing for residents across Toronto.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

“One Canadian experiencing homelessness is one too many. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how precarious the situation is for at-risk Canadians who are without safe, affordable housing. Our government is providing support to the City of Toronto’s Modular Housing Initiative to help alleviate housing need in Toronto, which includes funding new modular homes for those at risk of experiencing homelessness right here in Willowdale.”

– Ali Ehsassi, Member of Parliament for Willowdale

“The federal government is committed to eliminating chronic homelessness in Toronto and across Canada. With this new investment in affordable housing, safer and more stable homes are on their way to Beaches–East York. We look forward to continuing to partner with the City of Toronto in making sure every resident has a roof above their head and access to the supports that they need.”

– Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Member of Parliament for Beaches–East York

"Consistent with our City’s commitment to creating housing solutions for those who need it most as outlined in our HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, we are moving forward with yet more permanent supportive homes in the coming months. The additional modular sites being delivered this year will provide stable and affordable homes to individuals experiencing homelessness. Housing must be more than simply a place to stay, it is about providing a safe, stable and comfortable place to call home. The 24/7 onsite supports will be a crucial component of this housing initiative that will provide the new tenants the stability and support they need to reach their full potential."

– Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, (Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair

"I welcome the opportunity to create supportive housing in Willowdale to provide real homes for those in need. Many people in my community will not only embrace this initiative but will be asking how they can help."

– Councillor John Filion (Willowdale)

"Homelessness knows no boundaries. It is both visible and invisible for too many in our community. The pandemic has only increased the urgent need to support residents into permanent, stable housing. Modular housing will help provide a fast response to homelessness, relieving the burden on our shelter system and supporting our most vulnerable residents. With support from other levels of government the City can provide people experiencing homelessness permanent homes. By also providing the supports needed to succeed, our community members and neighbours can start new chapters in their lives."

– Councillor Brad Bradford (Beaches-East York)

“Toronto Community Housing recognizes the urgent need for more affordable supportive housing to tackle homelessness and reduce pressure on the City’s shelter system during the pandemic. We are pleased to contribute to creating more affordable housing by providing land adjacent to our seniors building at 175 Cummer Ave. as the site where 64 clean, safe, modular homes will be built and occupied before the end of the year through this innovative partnership.”

– Kevin Marshman, President and CEO, Toronto Community Housing

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