Toronto identifies site locations for its modular supportive housing initiative

Jun 2 2020, 1:22 pm

The City of Toronto has identified site locations for its Modular Housing Initiative.

The program is on track to provide “stable, affordable, high quality housing support and services,” to 100 individuals experiencing homelessness by the fall of 2020, according to the City of Toronto.

Site identification is a key component of the expedited delivery. Evaluations have been made by City and CreateTO on City-owned land across Toronto. They have been using criteria that included local demand for affordable housing, development potential of the site, local infrastructure, access to public transit, access to health and other community services. The criteria also includes zoning and other bylaw considerations.

This plan comes after a month of receiving Council approval. The two following sites are being recommended for Phase 1 of the Modular Housing Initiative:

  • 150 Harrison Street (Ward 9): 44 bachelor apartments. This is
    the former site of the 14 Division Police Station.
  •  11 Macey Avenue (Ward 20): 56 bachelor apartments. Near
    Victoria Park and Danforth.

The first phase was initially announced by Mayor John Tory on April 29. He also then mentioned that the new modular homes were expected to be ready for occupancy by September 2020.

“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. 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,” said Tory.

Qualifying non-profit housing providers will be selected by the City. Modular homes will also be prefabricated and installed on site.

Each modular building will include self-contained bachelor units. Each will have a kitchen and washroom. There will also be a shared communal kitchen and administrative and program space.

Online events have been planned as the community engagement process is commencing shortly. The City is also seeking feedback on the building and site design elements. This includes lighting and pathways and landscaping. They are also seeking out ideas on how to support and welcome residents into the neighbourhood.

The City of Toronto has also encouraged community members to “become engaged in this process before the housing is built and remain involved after residents have moved in.”

This Modular Housing Initiative is one of the components of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. The Action Plan calls for the City to approve 40,000 new affordable rental homes, including 1,000 modular homes.

Phase One is estimated to have a full capital cost of $20.9 million. Funding is coming from the City’s Developmental Charges Reserve Fund for Subsidized Housing. The Government of Canada through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund has also committed $8.25 million in contributions and repayable loans.

“Providing permanent, affordable rental housing with support services on-site will help people to move out of the shelter system and off of the streets,” said Councillor Gary Crawford, Budget Committee Chair.

Requests will also be made to the province for operating funding for health-related support services and housing subsidies.