City of Toronto investing in affordable, supportive housing by restoring Cabbagetown properties

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A partnership between the City of Toronto, Dixon Hall and Toronto Community Housing will renovate affordable, multi-tenant (rooming house) units at 502-508 Parliament St. with $6 million in Section 37 community benefits.

Work is expected to begin this fall and units will be completed in spring 2021.

The properties at 502-508 Parliament St. are Second Empire historical row houses built in 1879 by noted builder J. Bowden and are listed on the City’s heritage registry.

“The global health pandemic caused by COVID-19 has brought into acute focus the social, economic and health inequities and other challenges faced by those who are currently underhoused or experiencing homelessness. The City of Toronto is taking action to provide people experiencing homelessness with access to good quality, safe, permanent, supportive and affordable housing,” said Mayor John Tory.

Currently owned by Toronto Community Housing, the units require significant investment in renovation and heritage restoration. As authorized by City Council as part of the City’s Tenants First Project, work is underway to transfer ownership of these vacant multi-tenant homes to Dixon Hall.

Dixon Hall is the lead agency providing supports to tenants in Toronto Community Housing rooming houses. In addition to the Section 37 contribution, almost $1 million in funding and affordable housing incentives are being provided through the city’s ‘Open Door’ program to support the revitalization.

“Prior to the global pandemic, Toronto was already facing a housing crisis and since COVID-19, the situation has become more visible and increasingly more acute,” said councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.

“Modernizing and beautifully restoring these underutilized heritage properties is the right thing to do and I’m pleased to support this long-term investment in dignified housing for our most vulnerable residents.”

The project will deliver approximately 44 revitalized multi-tenant units with shared kitchen space, restored heritage assets and newly landscaped grounds. Support services will be provided onsite by Dixon Hall.

“We are proud to be a member of the Cabbagetown community, and we look forward to doing work that is consistent with the high standards of beautification and preservation we know our neighbours will and should expect,” said Eric Philip, director of real estate at Dixon Hall.

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