Ontario Construction News staff writer
The City of Toronto and Wigwamen Inc. last week announced the purchase of an 11-unit residential building on Hotspur Road and celebrated the purchase and operation of a 12-unit building on Keele Street.
The two sites were acquired through the multi-unit residential acquisition program (MURA), which allows non-profit housing providers such as Wigwamen Inc. to buy affordable rental housing, improve building conditions and protect Toronto’s existing housing stock. These homes will be secured as affordable housing for at least 99 years.
“We are pleased to have this opportunity to work with the City of Toronto to protect affordable rental housing in our neighbourhoods,” said Angus Palmer, general manager, Wigwamen Inc. “It is our privilege to work collaboratively with the residents here to improve the quality of their homes and we look forward to the connections we will build with residents at our newest location on Hotspur.
“As Ontario’s oldest and largest urban Indigenous housing provider, this is a good opportunity to celebrate our past successes, our current work and what we know we will accomplish together in the future.”
Wigwamen has completed renovations on eight homes at the Keele Street location and expects to finish renovations on the remaining homes by early 2024. Wigwamen Inc. will also complete building improvements at the Hotspur Road site in the coming months.
The MURA Program provides funding to not-for-profit housing providers to preserve existing affordable rental housing stock to help achieve Toronto’s target to approve 47,500 new affordable rental homes, including 18,000 supportive homes and a minimum of 2,500 rent-geared-to-income homes. Since 2021, the program has provided funding to not-for-profit agencies to secure approximately 261 permanently affordable homes in neighbourhoods across Toronto.
Twenty per cent of the homes will be tenanted by households on the centralized waiting list for rent-geared-to-income housing. Also, at least 20 per cent of the annual MURA Program funding allocation is dedicated to support acquisitions by Indigenous housing organizations for Indigenous peoples.
“The Indigenous set-aside of the MURA Program by the City of Toronto addresses the need for continued investments in long-term affordable housing opportunities for our urban Indigenous community,” said Lorna Lawrence, executive director, Miziwe Biik Development Corporation.”