The Rapid Housing Initiative was announced in the 2022 Federal Budget. This initiative is specifically designed to address immediate housing needs across the country, with the objective of committing all funds by March 31, 2024.
The primary goal is to create new units of permanent affordable housing for people and populations who are vulnerable and targeted under the National Housing Strategy (NHS). By securing additional funding, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will be able to build 4,500 new affordable units. It is important to note that at least 25% of these investments will be directed towards women-focused affordable housing projects, promoting gender equity and empowerment.
The total funding made available for this initiative stands at an impressive $1.5 billion. Out of this amount, $1 billion has been allocated to the Projects Stream, which will support a variety of housing projects across the country. Additionally, $500 million has been designated for the Cities Stream, focusing on urban areas to address their unique housing challenges.
The number of people actively experiencing homelessness in Toronto continues to grow. New homes with support services are urgently needed to ensure everyone has a warm, safe place to call home. In 2020, City Council adopted the 24-Month COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Recovery Response Plan PDF which outlined a plan for the City to accelerate the creation of 2,000 supportive homes and 1,000 housing benefits to create 3,000 new affordable housing opportunities in 24 months. To provide this rapid response, the City uses either innovative modular construction on City-owned land or acquires existing buildings (such as hotels or motels) that need renovations. The City also partners with, funds, and supports non-profit partners to acquire new properties or develop their own land to create new supportive housing.
The City has secured funding, including from the federal government, to exceed these targets and is on track to deliver over 2,000 supportive homes, as well as over 1,000 Canada-Ontario Housing Benefits. The majority of the new homes will completed by the end of 2022.
In May 2022, the Ontario Government committed $27 million in additional operating funding for supportive housing costs associated with buildings set to open in 2022, and committed to partnering with the City on its 24 Month Housing and Homelessness Recovery Plan to provide ongoing operating funding for supportive housing units set to come online by the end of 2023.
There are 19 sites across Toronto. In Toronto Centre we have 4 of the 19 sites.
215 Wellesley Street East
This project is being led by the Elizabeth Fry Society, and supported by the City of Toronto. Elizabeth Fry has proposed 48 new units of supportive housing at 215 Wellesley St. E. in a new eight-storey modular building, with a focus on supporting women and non-binary people, including Indigenous women.
389 Church Street
The City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing Corporation modernized this 13-storey residential building to provide 120 homes with support services for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, gender diverse people, and youth and seniors who have experienced or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
65 Dundas Street East
The City of Toronto has purchased the building at 65 Dundas St. E. to provide homes for a range of incomes, including some deeply affordable homes with supports.
292-296 Parliament Street
The City of Toronto has purchased this building to provide 24 new affordable rental homes with support services.