Toronto City Council adopts Housing Now report, recommends moving forward three shovel-ready sites on City-owned land and plan to deliver more affordable rental homes

140 Merton St, Toronto Ontario is the first Housing Now Indigenous-led site for Indigenous seniors

On Thursday, Toronto City Council adopted the Housing Now program’s 2023 Progress Update report, which includes a pathway to move forward three shovel-ready sites on City of Toronto-owned lands and a plan to get more sites under construction to deliver homes in Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York.

The report provides an update on the Housing Now program and recommends a number of urgent actions for all orders of government to unlock purpose-built affordable and market rental housing supply in all neighbourhoods across Toronto. Implementation of these actions will support the development of more than 16,000 homes, of which 12,000 are planned as purpose-built rental homes with almost 5,500 being affordable rental homes.

The report will ensure that construction begins on three sites (5207 Dundas St. W., 50 Wilson Heights Blvd. and 140 Merton St.) this year and early next year, creating a minimum of 1,949 affordable and market rental homes.

Housing Now is a signature affordable housing program in Toronto and across Canada. It was approved by Council in January 2019 to activate City-owned lands to stimulate the development of affordable rental housing within transit-oriented, mixed-income, mixed-use, complete communities. It is also a key housing supply program to support the City’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan ( target of 40,000 new affordable rental homes and Housing Action Plan 2022-2026 ( target of 285,000 homes by 2031.

To date, the City has committed more than $1.3 billion in land value, capital funding and financial incentives to the program, making Housing Now one of the most significant municipal financial investments in housing underway today.

Since approval of the Housing Now Initiative in January 2019, Council has allocated 21 prime transit-oriented Housing Now sites. To date, 10 of these sites have been re-zoned and market offerings have been completed for six of them.

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, macroeconomic factors including significant increases in construction costs and interest rates, labour shortages and global supply chain disruptions have affected Housing Now projects, as well as other residential projects in Toronto and across Canada. Recent changes to the federal National Housing Co-Investment Fund also resulted in grant funding being capped at levels insufficient to support the cost of developing new affordable housing in the Toronto. In addition to this, implementation of Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, by the Government of Ontario has eliminated housing services from Development Charges revenues, which has been the City’s primary funding tool to support the delivery of new affordable rental housing supply.

The need for more purpose-built affordable and market rental housing in Toronto is urgent. The current residential vacancy rate in Toronto is around 1.7 per cent. More than 10,800 people experience homelessness each night and about 40 per cent of the city’s renter households (around 220, 000 households) live in unaffordable housing.

The City and its non-profit and private sector partners are ready to build purpose-built rental homes, including affordable rental homes, in the short and medium terms. However, immediate and coordinated action across all orders of government is needed to remove hurdles and unlock shovel-ready Housing Now sites.

Key actions recommended in the report include:
• increasing grant funding to reflect local market conditions
• taking a geographic approach to sites (including unit mix, tenure and grant levels)
• enhancements to federal programs including those managed by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Canada Infrastructure Bank, including making some cost-neutral program changes
• reimbursement of lost revenues due to Bill 23, plus new financial investments by the Government of Ontario to support shared housing supply goals

The Housing Now initiative aims to deliver 10,000 affordable rental homes (which is one third of the total homes that will be delivered through the program) within mixed-income, mixed-use and complete communities by 2030. These homes will be affordable to a range of households with a range of incomes, include low- and moderate-income households. Delivery of Housing Now will support the City, Government of Ontario and Government of Canada in meeting their respective housing supply, economic and population growth targets and most importantly, provide the types of housing needed for individuals and communities to thrive.

The City continues to expedite the development review of Housing Now projects, despite the broader macroeconomic factors and other challenges facing affordable housing delivery. The site-specific zoning bylaw for 5207 Dundas St. W. was considered at the April 27 Planning and Housing Committee meeting. This item delivers on the reporting targets set in the Housing Action Plan 2022-2026 Work Plan by providing 58,435 square metres of residential gross floor area, for an estimated 67 more homes than presented to Council in 2021 through By-law 825-2021. City Planning led an expedited approvals process in 81 days from submission to statutory public meeting to support the approval of a shovel-ready project.

The full Housing Now 2023 Progress Update report is available on the City’s website:

More information about the City’s 2020-2030 HousingTO Action Plan is available on the City’s website:

The City’s Housing Action Plan 2022-2026: Priorities and Work Plan report to Executive Committee is also available online:


“By adopting the recommendations in the Housing Now 2023 Progress Update report, City Council is once again recognizing that this initiative is a critical component of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan and an innovative way to leverage City land and resources to increase the necessary supply of permanent affordable rental housing in Toronto. Housing Now is making progress to deliver new homes on surplus City of Toronto land. This report emphasizes immediate actions the City can take and new and enhanced investments required by the federal and provincial governments to help us deliver the envisioned number of affordable rental homes under the Housing Now program.”
– Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park)

SOURCE City of Toronto

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