The provincial government says it is investing more than $600 million dollars over the next three years in affordable and sustainable housing in Toronto, including millions more for repairs and retrofits to social housing buildings.
“We’re delivering efficient, people-centred housing programs to reduce wait-lists and help Ontario’s most vulnerable gain access to stable housing,” housing minister Chris Ballard said in a statement. “Leveraging provincial lands to build more affordable and rental housing, while repairing existing social housing units across the city, are just two important ways we’re taking action to ensure every family has an affordable place to live in the city they call home.”
Ballard was at 26 Grenville St. — provincial land that will be unlocked to build new affordable rental units — to highlight investments that the province is making.
In 2016-17, Ontario is contributing $42.9 million to the City of Toronto for repairs and retrofits to 26 social housing buildings, with all funds committed by March 31, 2017 and repairs to be completed by March 31, 2018. This investment will allow for the installation of energy-efficient boilers, windows, and lighting as well as the insulation of outer walls and mechanical systems.
These investments are part of Ontario’s Social Housing Apartment Retrofit Program (SHARP). The program is part of Ontario’s plan to fight climate change by investing proceeds from its carbon market into actions that help households and businesses reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on energy costs.
Over the next three years, the city will receive more than $130 million in additional funding for social housing repairs through the program.
The province is also:
- Investing $340 million over the next three years for homelessness prevention to help Toronto’s most vulnerable residents;
- Investing $130 million over the next three years to build and expand affordable housing options for people in Toronto;
- As part of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan, unlocking provincial land worth up to $100 million to build new affordable rental units in the city, with pilots at 27 Grosvenor St. and 26 Grenville St. in Toronto.
The government announcement says leveraging surplus provincial lands builds on an agreement reached previously with the City of Toronto to ensure a minimum of 20 per cent of residential units within the West Don Lands are available for affordable rental, with an additional five per cent of units for affordable ownership. The West Don Lands is one of the sites in Toronto being considered for the pilot.
“By establishing a program to dispose of surplus provincial land sites at below market value, the province will create a mechanism to leverage new, permanent, sustainable, and affordable housing units as part of the development of those lands,” the government said in a news release. “The province will work with municipalities, the housing sector, and other interested parties to confirm the pilot sites and final program design.”