Toronto’s Effort to Increase Affordable Housing in 2019
For years, the city of Toronto has been known as one of, if not the most expensive places to purchase a home in the entire country. However, recently, city officials have taken steps to help increase the number of affordable homes in the city. This was prompt by the city council’s decision to take on what is known as the Housing Now initiative, that increases the amount of newly affordable rental housing in communities of mixed-income.
The hope for this new program is that it will help to fast track the new housing developments that are expected to create 10,000 new residential units, on the cities 11 surplus properties. Of these 10,000 units, more than 3,500 will be affordable rental units. These rental units must have an average rent of 80% of the cities average market rent – or lower. These units are being built with families, who have annual incomes between $21,000 and $52,000 in mind.
The areas that these developments are going to be built on are situated close to popular and often necessary amenities for lower-income residents, such as transit and employment, as well as parks, childcare, schools, and recreational centers.
The Financial Aspect
The Housing Now program will provide $280 million dollars in incentives as a way to support the approximately 3,700 affordable homes being built. These incentives vary and include building permit fees, parkland dedication fees, property taxes for the 99-year term that rent is to remain affordable and development charges.
The program is also set to bring forward a number of new city resources that are in partnership with many in the co-op, private and non-profit sectors. These will help Toronto reach its goal of achieving the highest possible public benefits and affordable living for lower-income residents, without having to rely on the provincial and federal governments.
While ground has not been broken on these new developments yet, one thing is for sure, the city of Toronto is taking large steps in the right direction to help ease the housing market and making life more affordable in one of the nation’s most vibrant cities.