City of Toronto housing report proposes a generational change of the housing system to build more affordable homes faster

New affordable housing building in Toronto

Today, the City of Toronto released a staff report “Generational Transformation of Toronto’s Housing System to Urgently Build More Affordable Homes”, which charts a way forward to transform Toronto’s housing system and improve housing outcomes for low- and middle-income Torontonians.

The actions outlined in the report are necessary to restore housing affordability after decades of insufficient government investments across the housing system.

The report responds to Toronto City Council’s direction to develop a plan to approve 25,000 new rent-controlled homes in addition to what was already planned, thereby increasing the City’s total housing target to 65,000 new rent-controlled homes by 2030.

About the report

The report will be considered by the City’s Executive Committee on Tuesday, October 31 and by City Council at its meeting from Wednesday, November 8 to Friday, November 10.

The report describes how Toronto’s housing system could be strengthened with a higher degree of coordination among City divisions, agencies and corporations, as well as other orders of government and the not-for-profit, co-op and private sectors. The report also recommends an increased role for the City in the direct delivery of housing with staff to explore a City-led development model at five “housing ready” sites.

The actions in the report are focused on increasing the supply of non-market homes (homes owned by the public, not-for-profit and co-op sectors), protecting existing rental homes and supporting renters. Key actions include:
• Accelerating the development review and approval of new homes
• Working with the federal and provincial governments to increase access to funding and low-cost financing to move projects from approval into construction
• Establishing a more robust role for governments in both delivering and supporting the delivery of new homes
• Developing new and sustainable funding models

The actions in the report will not only support achieving provincial and federal housing targets but also expedite the delivery of housing commitments in the HousingTO 2020-2030 and Housing 2022-2026 Action Plans.

Key priorities – 22 recommendations

To address the housing crisis, the report recommends 22 actions for the City, as well as the federal and provincial governments.

The recommendations and initiatives highlighted in the report include:
• Dedicating more City-owned land to create new affordable homes – advancing due diligence on 40 additional City-owned sites (including sites owned by agencies, boards and corporations) that have been identified as potential future housing sites
• Accelerating the delivery of “housing ready” projects on City and not-for-profit owned land including:
o       between 16,000 and 17,500 net new affordable rental, rent-geared-to-income (RGI) and rent-controlled market homes on land owned by the City
o       almost 2,000 affordable and RGI homes on land owned by the not-for-profit sector
•       Streamlining and optimizing people, processes and technology to expedite approvals and housing delivery including:
o       organizational and resource re-alignment
o       process improvement
o       utilizing new and enhanced technology solutions to improve efficiencies and expedite the planning and building application review and approval processes
• Developing new and sustainable funding models to expand the delivery of affordable and RGI homes within mixed-income and sustainable communities
• Supporting the not-for-profit and co-op housing sectors – additional measures, including City development support, to assist the not-for-profit sector

Toronto’s ongoing response to the national housing crisis

The City continues to take a strong leadership role in housing. Since the launch of the HousingTO Plan, the City has committed approximately $8 billion in land, capital and operating funding and waived fees and charges. However, the worsening housing and homelessness crises require an even more robust range of actions across the housing continuum to adequately address the needs of current and future residents.

While the City is committed to taking every possible action within its jurisdictional and financial capacity to address the housing crisis, it is critical that the federal and provincial governments support these efforts.

New housing targets

This report proposes increases to the City’s previous HousingTO Plan target of approving 40,000 affordable rental homes by 2030. The combined new target is now 65,000 rent-controlled homes including a minimum of 41,000 affordable rental, 6,500 RGI homes and 17,500 rent-controlled market homes.

The report also recommends that on a go-forward basis, all new affordable homes meet the City’s income-based definition of affordable housing.

Investments needed

The report outlines an ambitious new housing strategy to deliver 65,000 new rent-controlled homes. The City’s new target will contribute to the HousingTO Plan and support the delivery of housing targets of the Government of Canada’s National Housing Strategy and the Government of Ontario’s Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act.

Of the overall 65,000 new rent-controlled homes target, funding has already been secured to deliver 4,455 homes. The estimated cost to deliver the remaining 60,545 homes is between $28.6 billion and $31.5 billion across the next seven years and requires contributions from all orders of government. The report includes estimates of funding needed from each order of government to be between $500 million and $800 million per year, in addition to repayable financing.

In addition to federal and provincial support to deliver the HousingTO Plan, a new fiscal deal is required to support the structural changes that will put Toronto on a path to long-term financial sustainability. Increased labour market capacity in the skilled trades and access to construction materials are needed to significantly scale up the production of new homes.

As all orders of government focus on building new affordable homes, efforts must equally concentrate on protecting the existing supply of homes to ensure net growth of the affordable housing stock.

The “Generational Transformation of Toronto’s Housing System to Urgently Build More Affordable Homes” report is available on the City’s website:

“We urgently need to build more affordable housing faster, so people in our city can find a home they can afford. That’s why we’re leading a generational shift in both how we deliver housing and the type of housing we’re going to build. We’re coordinating all City divisions to pull in one direction – building housing faster – and we’re setting new priorities to build rent-geared-to-income and not-for-profit housing. This report lays out a housing roadmap and we invite the federal and provincial governments to join us. Working together, we can quickly deliver thousands of units of affordable housing over the next few years. We’re ready to build.”
– Mayor Olivia Chow

SOURCE  City of Toronto

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