The City of Toronto will receive $132 million in additional funding in 2021 from the Government of Canada through the Major Cities Stream of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). The new funding will support quickly the creation of at least 233 new affordable and supportive homes in 2022 to help people exit homelessness.
Today, Mayor John Tory was joined for the announcement by the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; Jean Yip, Member of Parliament for Scarborough–Agincourt; and Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, (Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair.
The additional RHI funding will allow the City to continue to respond to the urgent need for more affordable and supportive housing by providing a rapid, dignified response that connects people experiencing and at risk of homelessness with homes and appropriate supports to help them achieve stability.
Prior to the funding being transferred to the City in full, the City will provide the Government of Canada with an investment plan. Projects must be completed within 12 months following approval by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
The funding will support the implementation of the City’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, as well as the COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Recovery Response Plan. The City’s 10-year Action Plan aims to assist more than 341,000 households prioritizing those most in need. This includes a target of 40,000 new affordable rental home approvals across the city, of which 18,000 will be supportive homes with a focus on helping people exit homelessness.
This phase of RHI is delivering an additional $1.5 billion in grant funding nationally to rapidly create new affordable rental housing in response to the urgent housing needs of vulnerable and marginalized individuals. The funding will be delivered by CMHC and will cover the cost of acquisition of land and construction of new housing; acquisition of land and existing non-residential buildings for the purpose of conversion to affordable housing; and acquisition of land and rehabilitation of housing.
The RHI sets a target to allocate at least 25 per cent of funding towards housing projects for women and/or women and their children and asks that cities work with Indigenous-led organizations to allocate 15 per cent of funding for projects serving urban Indigenous peoples. These objectives align with the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan which calls for dedicated affordable homes and supports for women and Indigenous people in Toronto.
Under the RHI’s Projects Stream, only the applicants who applied during the first round of RHI and had eligible projects that remained unfunded will be considered. Given the scale and scope of need for affordable and supportive homes in Toronto, the City will continue to support non-profit and Indigenous housing providers who meet this criteria.
Staff will report to Council in September with a progress update and to seek any additional authorities required to acquire or develop the new affordable rental homes within the 12-month program timeframe.
The City will be able to support these projects through measures such as the Open Door program, which provides exemption of fees, charges or property tax; and contribution of City-owned land.
To urgently address the issue of chronic homelessness and make the most of the funding provided by the Government of Canada, all governments need to work together to create new supportive housing. An essential part of the collective response is for the provincial government to provide operating investments alongside these new capital investments, and the City is reiterating its request for this funding. On April 7, 2021 the Province of Ontario confirmed $15.4 million in operating funding for 2021 dedicated to supportive housing in Toronto. The City is working with the Province to extend and secure additional funding beyond 2021.
More information is available in the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan.
“I want to thank the Government of Canada for their renewed commitment to creating affordable housing in Toronto. There has been an increased need in our city for more affordable housing and through this funding we can bring forward new spaces quickly. As a city, we have been very focused on addressing homelessness and quickly building affordable and supportive housing. Today’s funding will help us achieve these goals.
The announcement today is another example of what we can accomplish when we work together to address the emerging issues our city faces. Together we are making a tangible difference and helping vulnerable people in our city.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Today’s funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to support those who need it most, by quickly providing more than 230 new affordable homes for vulnerable individuals and families in Toronto to keep them safe. This is one of the ways our National Housing Strategy continues to ensure no one is left behind.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
“We have seen how COVID-19 has worsened existing housing and homelessness challenges and, without urgent action by the Government of Canada, the pandemic could lead to a dramatic increase in homelessness. Creating housing rapidly to address this housing crisis is a priority for our Government. This new funding is part of our commitment to addressing severe housing needs across the country. It will provide immediate support to create safe and stable housing to thousands of vulnerable individuals and families.”
– Jean Yip, Member of Parliament for Scarborough–Agincourt
“Our plan at the City of Toronto is to build quality housing rapidly, and this funding will make that possible on a larger scale. Creating at least 233 homes over 12 months means 233 people will have a safe, secure and stable place that they can permanently call home. Through the ambitious goals set out in our HousingTO 2020-2030 Plan, we are creating more of these opportunities faster than ever before and ensuring we build a more equitable City for all of us.”
– Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, (Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.