Today, Mayor John Tory marked the official opening of 36 new affordable homes for seniors, as well as a new EarlyON Child and Family Centre at 1117 Gerrard St. E.
Mayor Tory was joined by Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair, Planning and Housing Committee; Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough-Centre), Chair, Economic and Community Development Committee; Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth), Sean Mullins, Chair of WoodGreen Community Services Board and Rose Marie Montinat from Parent Resource Centre, which operates the new EarlyON Child and Family Centre as part of the redevelopment.
The 36 new affordable homes for seniors are operated by WoodGreen Community Services, which received joint funding from the City of Toronto’s Open Door Program, the federal/provincial Social Infrastructure Fund (SIF) for Seniors program and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) National Housing Co-investment Fund (NHCF). The new building follows current green and accessibility standards, along with providing affordable homes to vulnerable seniors in the community.
The new building replaces the Riverdale United Church, which served as a community hub for the local neighbourhood. The Parent Resource EarlyON Child and Family Centre was located in the original building and has moved back to a more modern space in the new building. The Parent Resource Centre has provided support to families in the local community since 1977, including providing literacy programs for parents and their young children, as well as school readiness programs.
EarlyON Child and Family Centres provide opportunities for children from birth to six years of age to participate in play and inquiry-based programs, and support parents and caregivers in their roles. The centres offer safe and welcoming environments that are open to all families across Ontario, with qualified professionals and quality programs. Families and caregivers will be able to find support, advice, make personal connections and access a network of resources. EarlyON Child and Family Centres are managed by municipalities and funded by the provincial government.
City Council approved the Open Door Program in 2016 to accelerate affordable rental housing construction by providing City financial contributions in the form of capital funding, fees, charges and property tax relief, and fast-tracking planning approvals. The Open Door Program is designed to support the City in achieving the goals of its Housing TO 2020-2030 Action Plan. The Action Plan sets targets for the development of 40,000 affordable rental homes by 2030. The Open Door Program assists private and non-profit affordable housing organizations to reduce the cost of developing housing and improve housing affordability. This is achieved by providing City financial contributions including capital funding and/or incentives such as exemptions from planning and building permit fees, development charges, parkland dedication fees, and property taxes
“This new development is a testament to what can be accomplished when all orders of government work along with key private partners together to respond to the specific needs of a neighbourhood. These new affordable homes for seniors will play a big role in the community while at the same time sustaining necessary child care programming for families. I want to thank the federal and provincial government for their funding towards this project and for helping us add much-needed affordable housing to our city.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Programs like the City’s Open Door Program help make it possible for housing providers to create the homes that they know their communities need. As we continue to create innovative programs such as these, we come ever closer to our goal from the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan of approving 40,000 new affordable rental homes, including 18,000 new affordable supportive homes.”
– Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee
“EarlyON Child and Family Centres play an important role in helping parents and caregivers to connect with one another and gain valuable caregiving skills. There is no doubt that this new centre will become a hub for families in this community.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough-Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
“I am pleased that the City has been able to partner with two experienced organizations who have a long history of providing essential services to this community. Parents can now bring their children to this beautiful new centre and seniors who may have lived in this neighbourhood their entire lives can continue living here, but in a home that’s affordable and with services that support their health and well-being. This is truly a win-win for this wonderful community.”
– Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth)
“With an affordable housing crisis and the cost of rent in Toronto continually going up, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for many people, and in particular for low-income seniors, to be able to afford a place to live. WoodGreen is proud to finally officially open the doors to this new housing development, which will give more seniors a safe and affordable place to call home and access to the wide range of support services that WoodGreen offers.”
– Anne Babcock, President & CEO, WoodGreen Community Services