Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Why supportive housing is needed in Toronto

Providing permanent, affordable rental housing with support services on-site will help people to move out of the shelter system. Before COVID-19 the City’s shelter system was at capacity. Given the need for physical distancing with COVID-19, a considerable strain has been put on the shelter system. Shelter users are currently being housed in community centres and hotels, which is not sustainable.

How the modular sites are selected

City officials have reviewed City-owned sites across Toronto. Modular housing sites are selected based on demand for affordable housing, environmental issues and development potential, access to public transit, access to health and other community services, Official Plan and Zoning By-law considerations and site servicing.

Operation of the modular buildings

The City will select a qualified and experienced non-profit housing provider to manage the property and provide support services for residents. The City will continue to work with the selected housing providers after new residents will move in.

The City will be allocating housing subsidies to these modular units to ensure these homes are affordable to future residents. Additionally, the City, as part of its selection process, will select non-profit organizations that can demonstrate they are financially sound and viable, have sufficient operating funding to provide support services and have the experience and capability to successfully operate the project, including the provision of supports.

Tenant selection process

These modular homes are created for people currently experiencing homelessness. Future residents will be referred through the Coordinated Access Model from the street, shelters and respite centres. The City will work with the selected non-profit housing operators to prioritize people who have experienced homelessness and have a connection to the area.

Coordinated Access is a consistent community-wide approach to assessing, prioritizing, and connecting people experiencing homelessness to housing and supports.

Types of Services offered

All services provided on the modular sites will be for residents only to help them achieve housing stability and prevent from return to homelessness. It is expected that a range of support and health services be provided including meal services, providing or connecting residents to primary health services, community supports and services such as: education; employment; and life skills. The modular buildings will not include supervised injection sites.

Concerns about neighbourhood safety

We do not anticipate any increased public safety issues in the neighbourhood as a result of the new modular housing projects. The properties will be managed by a non-profit housing provider who will be responsible to ensure that community concerns are addressed.

Concerns about the expedited review process

About 8,000 people a night are using Toronto’s shelter system or sleeping rough. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which has put significant pressure on the shelter system and created even more urgency behind the need to create affordable and supportive housing, City Council directed staff to prioritize the Modular Supportive Housing Initiative including expediting the necessary building and planning approvals.

The City Planning and Toronto Building divisions, along with all other relevant City divisions, have appropriately allocated staff resources to process and review the required planning and building permit applications for the two modular housing sites in a streamlined and efficient manner. City staff have been actively engaged in the pre-application review process to proactively identify, prioritize and respond to possible issues or constraints in order to identify solutions efficiently.

Concerns about the proposed design of the modular buildings

City Planning and Urban Design staff are working with the project architects and CreateTO to ensure that the proposed buildings will fit into their respective neighbourhoods. The building materials and colour palette proposed aim to help the building fit-in to the local context in Toronto. The neutral colour palette, mix of textures, architectural features and use of wood on the exterior all help to create a building that is more refined and one that will stand the test of time

Along with the modular housing building, the project includes a detailed landscape design with the goal of helping the project fit in with the area through extensive plantings of trees and shrubs, as well as protecting privacy for adjacent properties.

Share your input on this project

City officials want to hear from you. Scheduled information sessions are being held to share information, hear from local residents and businesses and to build support in the community for this much-needed housing and services. You can also email your questions and comments to modularhousing@toronto.ca.

Research Studies on Supportive Housing