Former Super 8 becomes ‘deeply affordable’ housing

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Citizens experiencing or at risk of homelessness are to begin moving in this month to “deeply affordable” homes at a former hotel in downtown Toronto that is among 100 affordable housing projects in the city’s development pipeline.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week to mark the opening at the former Super 8 Hotel at 222 Spadina Ave. where residents will pay no more than 30 per cent of their income towards rent.

Non-profit housing organization Homes First Society will operate the building and provide onsite support services including a food program, clinical supports, life skills training and a variety of community-based programs.

After the City of Toronto in 2021 acquired three floors of the property south of Dundas in Chinatown for $22.3 million it was renovated to make 84 self-contained apartments, community space, administrative and programming rooms and a new outdoor amenity on the fifth floor. The project includes 79 studio apartments, three one-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom apartments.

The project received funding from the federal government through its $1 billion Rapid Housing Initiative, a program that provides affordable housing to vulnerable populations. The province committed to providing operating funding to deliver support services while the city invested capital funding and provided financial incentives to ensure long-term affordability, including a waiver of fees and charges, as well as an exemption from property taxes for 99 years.

Toronto has received more than $440 million through the RHI, leading to creation of more than 1,000 new affordable and supportive homes. The federal funding aims to support the implementation of the city’s plan to build 40,000 new affordable rental homes over ten years, including 18,000 supportive dwellings.

“Toronto is working to get more affordable and supportive homes built for more residents as quickly as possible,” deputy mayor Jennifer McKelvie said at the opening Tuesday. She said affordable housing projects in the pipeline that are led or supported by the city will provide more than 20,000 affordable rental and supportive homes.

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