George Brown College Unveils Student and Employee Housing Initiative

Tackling Downtown Toronto's Affordable Housing Crisis is a Priority

George Brown Housing Task Force Poster (Image Source: George Brown College)

TORONTO, /CNW/ – In the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis, George Brown College (GBC) is announcing important steps to address housing affordability in downtown Toronto. GBC recognizes that without action, the lack of affordable housing will make it increasingly difficult to attract talent, ensure student success, and retain dedicated employees.

“The housing crisis cannot be solved by George Brown College alone, but it is our intention to contribute to a deeper understanding of the challenges, explore meaningful solutions, and work with our partners in government and the private sector to implement appropriate solutions. We are taking the steps today to gain the necessary information to take action on further meeting the needs of our students and employees,” said George Brown College President Dr. Gervan Fearon.

In February of 2023, George Brown College launched an internal Housing Task Force, which commenced work to research and define the scope of the student and employee housing crisis. This week, GBC is unveiling the results of the first phase of that work, underscoring the significant demand for housing that is safe and affordable among the college’s students and employees.

Key Findings:
  • About one in 25 post-secondary school students in Canada experience homelessness on any given day, ranging from couch surfing, sleeping in a vehicle, or using emergency shelters.
  • In 2019, Covenant House reported 26 per cent of its residents were students, and in 2022 that estimate is closer to a third of residents.
  • Housing represents serious challenges for students, requiring them to work longer hours and more jobs to afford the high cost of housing.
  • Nearly half of the students polled reported a long commute (greater than 1 hour). Many reported they did so in order to obtain more affordable housing or live with family.
  • GBC’s single student residence, The George (located at 80 Cooperage Street) offers housing for 500 students and has a wait-list averaging between 400 and 600 each year.
  • The lack of housing affordability is a critical challenge confronting the region’s continued growth and prosperity, with serious implications for employers according to the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

GBC’s study found that employees are also severely impacted by the cost of housing. At a recent series of staff housing forums, many employees indicated they needed to move farther away from downtown Toronto to be able to afford to live. Based on data from the mortgage brokerage firm, many average income individuals in Toronto do not earn enough to purchase an average Toronto home.

The report will form the basis of the second phase of the college’s Housing Initiative to address student and employee housing needs.

In Phase II, GBC will engage an external consultant to work with our Housing Task Force and the entire GBC community to help move towards meaningful and actionable solutions.

George Brown College is working to find opportunities to create new housing, alongside the work of other partners in government and the private and non-profit sectors,” said Michelle McCollum, Vice President, Facilities and Sustainability, George Brown College.

Meanwhile, the college is working with government and private non-profit sector partners, while conducting an evaluation of its own assets to find solutions to the problems at hand.

“We know that our students, employees and community struggle to find affordable housing, and we understand how vital safe and affordable housing is to success. That is why we have embarked on this critical housing initiative,” said Joe Cressy, GBC’s Senior Vice President of External Relations, Communications, and Real Estate Development, on the completion of Phase One of the college’s Housing Task Force.

To view the full report, click here or visit

SOURCE George Brown College

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