Ontario Construction News staff writer
Toronto City Council unanimously approved applications to the Open Door Affordable Rental Housing program last week, a total of 17 affordable rental housing projects with a total of 920 affordable rental homes.
Thirteen of the 17 affordable housing projects approved will be led by non-profit housing organizations – two will be Indigenous-led and three will create new supportive housing, including some “deeply affordable” homes.
In the current increasingly challenging development environment created by rising interest rates and construction costs, councillors say it is important to support affordable housing developers with financial incentives and capital grants.
Incentives currently offered include exemptions from planning application and building permit fees, property tax waivers and fast-tracking of planning approvals. The total value of the recommended, with the total value of incentives and capital funding for 2021’s Open Door projects is more than $75 million. Approximately 29 per cent of the capital funding will be dedicated to supporting the two Indigenous-led projects.
To qualify, homes must be affordable for a minimum period of 40 years, and in many cases approved projects will provide perpetually affordable rental homes.
“We are taking urgent action to address the housing crises in Toronto,” said Mayor John Tory. “Delivering more than 900 rental homes, and our commitment to add to the more than 3,300 homes is part of a larger plan to continue to provide safe, affordable housing to people who need it most.
“Everyone deserves to have a stable, comfortable and safe home. That’s why we continue to work hard to increase the supply of affordable homes. The Open Door program is one of the initiatives that helps us effectively address the housing needs of our current and future residents.”
The city will also provide incentives for 25 additional affordable rental homes to be created at 155-65 Elm Ridge Dr. by Reena, a non-profit organization that provides housing with a range of supports for people with disabilities and has earmarked $3.6 million in Section 37 funds for Spadina-Fort York to the affordable housing component of the redevelopment of the Palace Arms Hotel at 938-950 King St. W.
Since the Open Door program was launched in 2016, incentives have been provided to support the creation of more than 21,700 affordable rental homes across the city.
The 2021 application results are available on the city’s website.
“Many Toronto residents find it increasingly challenging to find rental units that they can afford,” said Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, chair of the housing and planning committee. “It’s more important than ever to develop more affordable housing as quickly as possible.”