This week, during its final full meeting of this term, City Council approved more than 24,000 new homes.
Following the four-day meeting, City staff confirmed Council approved a total of 24,829 housing units, including 2,060 affordable and 2,413 purpose built rental units, 775 rental replacement units, 12 new parks, four new privately-owned, publicly-accessible spaces (POPS), and community benefits worth more than $121 million, not including in-kind benefits such as child care centres, community agency space and multi-use trails.
By approving more than 140 housing-related staff reports and recommendations for action, City Council has reaffirmed its commitment to ramp up the supply of new affordable and supportive homes, and increase housing affordability for residents by clearing the way for important housing related projects, programs and initiatives. These actions will help get more homes built and delivered, maintain the existing supply of homes, improve access to housing opportunities and take action to improve housing conditions for current and future residents.
Beyond the more than 24,000 new homes approved, the key recommendations adopted by Council include:
Key strategic priorities identified in the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan include: increasing the supply of new affordable homes; preventing homelessness and improving pathways to housing stability for residents across Toronto; ensuring well-maintained and secure homes for renters; and increasing access to affordable rents.
To help preserve affordable and mid-range rental homes across Toronto and deter renovictions, Council approved a new Renovictions Policy and directed staff to develop a new bylaw. The bylaw will require all landlords to obtain a building permit prior to taking steps to obtain vacant possession of a rental unit to carry out a repair or renovation of the rental unit, and to provide tenants with a copy of the City’s Tenant Eviction Prevention Handbook to ensure tenants are aware of their rights. The City will establish HART that will be tasked with overseeing the implementation of the new bylaw.
To increase access to RGI, and support residents most in need, Council approved modifying the RGI local priority rules and adding two new priority groups. This included adding a new priority for tenants currently living in supportive housing who no longer require supports to transition to an RGI unit without supports, which will enable other individuals, including those experiencing homelessness to access these units faster. An Indigenous peoples priority rule was also added to advance the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan, by helping the City meet its target of at least 5,000 new affordable rental homes for Indigenous communities and prioritize Indigenous peoples for social housing opportunities. In addition, amending the homeless priority to every fifth RGI vacancy from every seventh vacancy will increase opportunities for those experiencing homelessness to access subsidized housing, in response to the deep needs identified in the 2021 Streets Needs Assessment. The creation of a new Centralized Affordable Rental Housing Access System with an innovative hybrid model will improve the way in which the City collects data and allocates units by creating a single-entry point for applying for RGI and affordable rental homes.
In addition to the reports adopted at Council this week, the City’s innovative new program Concept 2 Keys (C2K) is transforming how development applications are reviewed and helping to shape how Toronto grows. In addition to improving organizational structures and processes and introducing new technology, C2K has created a review stream that prioritizes affordable housing applications to help support the City’s objective of improving housing affordability and to meet HousingTO targets. Improvements to the development review process, including a new team-based operating model and more collaborative pre-application consultation, are currently being tested in the Etobicoke York District before they are rolled out city-wide by the end of the year. More information is available on the Concept 2 Keys webpage.
The full agenda of this week’s Council reports is available on the City’s website.
More information about the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan and other actions that the City is taking to create more homes is available on the Creating More Homes for Toronto webpage.
“We are doing everything we can as a City government to get more housing built, including more affordable housing and more supportive housing. We must continue the progress we are making creating housing options for current and future residents in Toronto and the commitments to improving housing affordability and helping those who need it the most. I am committed to continuing to work together with Council, the other governments and our community partners to get much more housing built as quickly as possible.”
– Mayor John Tory
“I am proud of the work we have accomplished in advancing affordable housing across the city in my time on Council and as Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee. The number of affordable units approved in the Council meeting is unprecedented and impressive. I want to congratulate City staff and my Council colleagues on their progressive and proactive efforts to getting us closer to reaching our housing goals.”
– Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee
“Access to good quality, safe, affordable housing improves health, social and economic outcomes for individuals, communities, and our city. We look forward to continuing to work with our federal and provincial partners, local communities and partners across various sectors to implement the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, and build a city where everyone has equal opportunities to thrive.”
– Abi Bond, Executive Director, Housing Secretariat
“Approving almost 25,000 housing units in a single City Council meeting meant moving mountains for City staff and everyone involved in the development review process. I want to congratulate and thank all staff and partners involved in this work. The addition of new affordable and purpose-built rental units, new parks and community benefits such as child care centres and community space will support Toronto’s goal to be a more inclusive and more resilient city that sustains equity and economic competitiveness as we continue to grow. ”
– Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning
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