Crews are using cranes to install modular homes in Scarborough this week, a key milestone for the city’s supportive housing plan. Residents are expected to move in next month.
The modular housing initiative is building affordable rental homes that also offer support services, designed for people who are currently experiencing homelessness.
“Today we are marking a significant milestone in the development of 11 Macey Avenue – the City of Toronto’s first modular supportive housing project,” said Mayor John Tory. “The city’s modular housing initiative is an innovative and cost-effective way in which we are building small-scale, affordable, infill housing while providing a rapid, dignified response to connect people experiencing homelessness with homes and appropriate supports to help them achieve housing stability.”
Moving quickly is imperative, he said.
“The whole point of modular housing is that we can build it in months not years. That is why it is part of what the federal government and the city, together, call rapid housing. This is part of our plan to move forward with creating new affordable and supportive housing options for residents across this city with unprecedented speed.”
The first 100 homes are being delivered this year at two sites: 11 Macey Ave. will provide 56 studio homes and the 150 Harrison St. building will provide 44 homes. Each building will be three-storeys high and will include common rooms, a dining room, program space and administrative offices. The remaining 150 homes will be delivered as part of Phase II in 2021.
The estimated capital cost for Phase 1 is $20.9 million. Funding will come from the municipal development charges reserve fund for subsidized housing and the Government of Canada CMHC affordable housing innovation fund – a $200 million initiative to encourage new funding models and innovative building techniques in the affordable housing sector.
“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, said Ahmed Hussen, federal minister of families, children and social development. “The Government of Canada is a proud partner in this initiative because we know the importance of ensuring everybody has a home that meets their needs.”
He called rapid housing a solution to address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by building more affordable housing quickly.
Modular housing is high-quality housing built in a factory-controlled setting and transported to the site for assembly. Each home is approximately 300 square feet and comes with a built-in kitchen (including a stove top), microwave and fridge.
Units are furnished with a twin bedframe and mattress, a lounge chair, dining table and chairs and a dresser. All the items were installed or placed in the homes at the factory and are furnished upon delivery.
Construction and installation of the 100 modular homes will be approximately six to eight months, as opposed to three to five years for traditional construction. Modular housing has been successfully used in many jurisdictions in North America including Edmonton and Vancouver in Canada, and Boston and Los Angeles in the United States.
The Modular Housing Initiative is one component of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, which calls for 40,000 new affordable rental homes including 18,000 supportive homes, 1,000 of which are to be modular supportive homes.
“During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this life-saving modular housing initiative will provide individuals with safe spaces to exercise physical distancing and self-isolation. In the longer term, this approach will result in substantial cost savings to the public sector, while improving the health and housing outcomes of individuals who are currently within the shelter system,” said Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, planning and housing committee chair.