Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) or subsidized housing is a housing subsidy or benefit offered by the City of Toronto to make rent affordable for households. In most cases the rent at a subsidized unit is set to be 30 per cent of a household’s total monthly income before taxes and adjustments. If you receive social assistance the rent is based on the rent benefit set by the Ontario government.
Currently the number of people needing subsidized housing is greater than the number of units available. As a result, it can take years for an applicant to get housed. We encourage applicants to consider subsidized housing as a long term housing plan. Subsidized housing is not an immediate solution to housing needs or emergency situations.
Access to Housing manages the waiting list for subsidized housing. Once an applicant reaches the top of the wait list and housing becomes available, housing providers, for example Toronto Community Housing Corporation, will contact the applicant with an offer of housing.
If you need emergency shelter, please call the Central Intake at 416-338-4766. A local Housing Help Centre can help you access other housing options, find and keep housing, and avoid eviction.
Anyone may apply for Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) housing as long as they meet the following criteria:
- At least one member of the household is 16 years or older;
- At least one member of the household is able to live independently, with or without support services.
- Each member of the household can prove status in Canada as one of the following:
- a Canadian citizen;
- a permanent resident of Canada;
- has applied for Canadian permanent resident status; or
- is a refugee claimant or Convention refugee.
Please note that the City of Toronto will check names of the household members to make sure they don’t owe money to housing providers and/or have a conviction that is related to RGI housing.
If you own a residential property you must sell the property, or your share in it, within six months of moving into subsidized housing. If you fail to do so, you may not receive an offer of housing, or lose your subsidy.
When applying for RGI assistance, please provide your yearly income before taxes and adjustments, and the income of each member of the household who is 16 years or older. Please report this income from Line 150 of the latest Notice of Assessment (NOA) document, issued by the Canada Revenue Agency.
By reporting your income, Access to Housing can determine if there are other housing benefits and services that meet your need.
Our clients need to have income to receive RGI assistance. When you receive an offer of housing, you will be required to provide proof of your income. If you do not have income, you would be required to seek income such as Ontario Works.
Children of the household who are full-time students, at a primary or secondary school, or a post-secondary institution, do not need to report income.
Information for All Applicants
Once your application is processed as eligible you will be placed on the Centralized Waiting List, managed by Access to Housing.
Applications are chronologically added to the Centralized Waiting List by their date of application (when a complete application and all supporting documents are received). Clients are served on a first-come, first-served basis, and applicants with the older application dates receive an offer of housing first.
Toronto Community Housing Corporation, private non-profit providers and federally/provincially funded co-ops use the Centralized Waiting list to house applicants. Each of these providers has a list of clients waiting for housing according to the ranking on the Centralized Waiting List.
There is currently a long waiting list for applicants with a chronological ranking. An applicant can expect to wait:
- seven years or more for a bachelor unit
- 12 years or more for a one-bedroom unit
- 10 years or more for larger unit sizes
Wait times may vary depending on a number of factors including how many building choices an applicant selects and the location of the buildings.
Information on Priority Access
There are a few groups of applicants who receive priority housing ahead of others because of their unique circumstances. These groups of clients, in order of priority ranking, include:
- Survivors of family/domestic abuse and human trafficking
- Terminally ill applicants who have less than two years to live
- Tenants living in subsidized units that are larger than the units they qualify for (according to the provincial occupancy standards)
There are also local priority access rules benefiting the following clients:
- Applicants experiencing homelessness, and living in a shelter or on the streets. Applicants must provide a letter from the shelter to verify their stay, or a letter from a community agency to verify their living circumstances. The letter must use the shelter or agency’s official letterhead and be submitted with the applicant’s RGI application.
- Separated families who have children in the care of the Children’s Aid Society because of lack of adequate housing. Applicants must provide a letter from CAS explaining the circumstances. The letter must use CAS’ official letterhead be submitted with the applicant’s RGI application.
- Youth who are 16 or 17 years old at the time of applying for subsidized housing.
Accessibility & Special Needs
There are accessibility and special needs accommodations available for clients of subsidized housing. Applicants may request accessible buildings (e.g., with ramps, automatic doors and doorways) if they are unable to climb stairs or use mobility devices.
Modified units are reserved for applicants who are physically disabled and in a wheelchair on a full-time basis. Modifications may vary by unit and can include features such as grab bars, lowered countertops, and wider doorframes.
For clients who require overnight care from a caregiver or in some cases require space for medical equipment, there is the option of applying for an additional bedroom.
Mandate housing providers have special requirements for people who live in their buildings, called “mandates.” For example, some mandates require that tenants be seniors, artists or member of a specific cultural community.
To apply for RGI housing you must complete the RGI Housing Application in full and provide the following for all household members:
- Legal status in Canada documentation for all household members
- Income information for all household members over 16 years of age
- Information about any money owed to, or re-payment plans with a Social Housing Provider
- Consent and declaration for all household members over 16 years of age
Examples of acceptable documents to prove status in Canada include:
- Canadian Birth Certificate
- Citizenship Card
- Permanent Residency Card
- Refugee approval documents with valid expiry dates
When you apply, please attach proof of status in Canada for yourself and all the household members you are adding to your RGI application.
You can apply online, in person or by mail. Processing time for online applications is up to 90 days, and up to 120 days for paper applications.
The easiest and fastest way to apply is to complete the online application. The following tips will help with sending a complete application:
- First gather all the required information for yourself and each member of the household who will be included on your application, including proof of status in Canada documents.
- Household members 16 years and older must provide consent and declaration.
- If you use a public computer to submit your application, be sure to clear the history and cache at the end of your session to protect your personal information.
Staff at Housing Help Centres and Access to Housing can help you with your application in person. Please see the “Need Help?” section for details.
Send your completed RGI paper application form and supporting documentation to:
Access to Housing
176 Elm Street
If you are a survivor of domestic abuse or human trafficking you can apply for the Special Priority Program.
If you are a terminally ill patient with less than two years to live, you may be eligible for priority access to subsidized housing. Your physician must verify your medical condition and life expectancy.
Special Needs & Additional Bedrooms
To apply for mandate housing, in addition to completing an RGI application, you and the housing provider, who is providing the mandate, must fill out and submit a mandate form. The provider must sign and submit the mandate form on your behalf to Access to Housing.
The application process for seniors’ housing is the same as applying for RGI subsidy. Access to Housing will assess eligibility for seniors’ housing once you submit your RGI application. When you turn 59 years old you can add seniors’ buildings to your housing choices. Many of the seniors’ buildings have seniors’ support services on-site.
Once your complete application is processed and you are added to the Centralized Waiting List. Please take note of the following steps and information.
- Access to Housing will send you an Acknowledgement Letter in the mail within 150 days of submitting a complete application.
- You can expect a second mail containing a Personal Identification Number (PIN) seven days after receiving your Acknowledgement Letter.
- With a PIN you can create a unique password which will allow you to update your application. It is important that you don’t lose this information to be able to keep your application up to date.
- Keeping your application up to date is your responsibility and will ensure housing providers will be able to reach you at time of offer. Please see below for more information.
- The City of Toronto may use the information from your application to identify other housing benefits you may be eligible for.
Explore Housing Options
Learn about the subsidized housing options in Toronto by viewing housing listings in the areas you would like to live, and select your buildings of choice.
Maintain Eligibility & Update Your Information
In order to maintain your eligibility you must confirm your interest in remaining on the Centralized Waiting List for housing every 18 months. You must also notify Access to Housing of any changes to your information, including:
- phone number
- number of household members, and their information
- different contact name on application
- immigration status
- adding or removing areas/buildings of choice that reflect your housing need on your application
If you wish for the City of Toronto to communicate with someone other than yourself about the details of your application you must first provide written authorization.
Three Refusals Policy
- Eligible applicants may receive up to three housing offers by housing providers. However, once you refuse three offers, you and your household will be removed from the Centralized Waiting List and will not be receiving an offer of housing.
- You can apply again. If you apply again, you will receive a new application date and start at the bottom of the Centralized Waiting List. To avoid receiving offers for buildings you do not wish to accept choose areas or buildings that you find desirable and are willing to move into.
If you are living in a subsidized/RGI unit, you must inform your housing provider about changes to your situation that might affect your subsidy. These include:
- change in income
- change in assets
- change in who lives with you
- change in family status
- change in citizenship/immigration status
- absence from your unit
- any other change that might affect your subsidy or housing eligibility.
Tenants of subsidized housing must complete an Annual Review of income and assets to keep their housing subsidy. For more information on requirements for maintaining a subsidy, see Chapter 3 of the RGI Administration Manual.
Loss of RGI
Once housed, if a household stops meeting RGI program requirements, they could lose their RGI assistance. If you receive a Notice of Decision, Loss of Eligibility for RGI Assistance, contact your housing provider right away. You may be able to resolve the issue before the effective date (the day your rent will change to market rent). If and once resolved, your housing provider will send you a notice that your RGI assistance has been restored.
When you get a Notice of Decision, Loss of Eligibility for RGI Assistance, you can request a review of the decision. If you live in a non-profit or co-operative and have not been able to work things out with your housing provider, send this form to the City within 30 calendar days. Your housing provider must include the Request for Review Form with their notice.
Need help with understanding your subsidized housing options or completing your application? There are three ways you can get support:
Visit a Housing Help Centre near you, or the Access to Housing Resource Centre, to receive support with:
- choosing subsidized housing options in Toronto
- applying for subsidized housing, updating your existing application and viewing housing listings
The Access to Housing Resource Centre is located at:
176 Elm Street
Toronto, ON M5T 3M4
Mondays, Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tuesdays: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On Monday afternoons from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday mornings from 10 to 11 a.m., Housing Help Centre staff are present on site to provide extra support.
Call 416-338-8888, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a response within 72 hours.
Complaints & Compliments
You can provide us with your feedback about housing and homelessness services directly delivered or funded by the City.