The city has bought two multi-storey buildings on busy commercial strips in Summerhill and Chinatown to turn into homes for people in need.
About 334 residences will be created in the buildings at 877 Yonge St. and 222 Spadina Ave. with funding help from both Ottawa and Queen’s Park.
The purchases are just the beginning of a program launched by the city under the federal Rapid Housing Initiative to fully fund support services for 1,098 homes, ready to be moved into this year, according to a city announcement today.
“The housing we are announcing today will create a more well-rounded, full-service support system for vulnerable residents in our city,” Toronto mayor John Tory said. “Supportive housing has proven to work and is the type of housing we need to create for people in need of a stable, long-term and welcoming place to call home.”
He thanked the other levels of government for their help.
“This demonstrates how all our governments can work together to help people,” he said at the announcement, joined by federal ministers and city councillors.
The Yonge Street and Spadina Avenue buildings are to provide affordable housing and support services to women, Indigenous people, racialized groups, seniors, people with disabilities and people at risk of homelessness and will offer support services to the tenants, according to the statement released today.
Purchase costs over $117 million
The 15-storey highrise on Yonge north of Davenport Road was a seniors’ residence, known as Fellowship Towers, until it stopped operating in 2019.
It was bought by the city for $94.9 million, which is to be covered by the Rapid Housing Initiative.
Studio and one-bedroom apartments with kitchens and bathrooms are to house 250 people, who will also share laundry facilities, a communal area and programming space.
The building is to be operated by the non-profit St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society, which has experience in the community. Experienced staff will be in the building 24/7 to connect residents to health care and community-based programs and other services.
On Spadina Avenue south of Dundas Street West on the edge of the Alexandra Park neighbourhood, the city purchased three floors in a multi-use building that used to be a Super 8 hotel. The purchase price was $22.3 million, also to be covered by RHI funding.
This location is to offer studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments with kitchens and bathrooms to house 84 people, as well as shared amenities like those in the Yonge Street building.
A building operator and service provider are yet to be selected. Occupancy is anticipated to begin in December 2021.
The Yonge building is expected to receive some tenants in May, with the rest coming in December 2021.
Support services in these and other planned buildings have been made possible in part thanks to the provincial government providing $15.4 million in operating funding for 2021 dedicated to supportive housing in Toronto, city representatives said.
University-Rosedale councillor Mike Layton, whose ward includes the Yonge Street property and is close to the Spadina Avenue site, said the housing will improve the quality of life of some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
“I’m pleased that we’re able to open the doors of these new homes and welcome our new neighbours to our community,” he said.