As a lack of affordable housing continues to grip Toronto, the Canadian government has announced it's committing $132 million from its rapid housing initiative to build a minimum of 233 new affordable homes in Toronto.
However, there is a catch -- the City of Toronto has to build the new units within the next 12 months.
Prior to the funding being transferred in full, the City must provide the federal government with an investment plan. Then, once the projects have been approved by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the homes must be completed within the 12-month timeframe.
"There has been an increased need in our city for more affordable housing and through this funding, we can bring forward new spaces quickly," said Mayor John Tory.
"As a city, we have been very focused on addressing homelessness and quickly building affordable and supportive housing. Today's funding will help us achieve these goals."
While Toronto is always in need of more affordable housing supply, the funding announcement follows City staff and police violently clearing out encampments in various local parks.
"Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home," said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
"Today's funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to support those who need it most by quickly providing more than 230 new affordable homes for vulnerable individuals and families in Toronto to keep them safe."
However, in order to urgently address the issue of chronic homelessness in Toronto and make the most of the funding provided by the Government of Canada, the City says all levels of government need to work together to create new supportive housing.
"An essential part of the collective response is for the provincial government to provide operating investments alongside these new capital investments, and the City is reiterating its request for this funding," the City said in a statement.
The statement also notes that back in April, the provincial government confirmed $15.4 million in funding in 2021 for "supportive housing" in Toronto. However, the City says it is now working with the province to secure additional funding beyond this year.
While the additional housing is a step in the right direction to aid Toronto's affordable housing problem, more work still needs to be done.
According to the City's website, currently, the number of people needing subsidized housing is greater than the number of units available. As a result, there are significant wait times for an applicant to receive housing, with wait times of seven years or more for a bachelor unit, 12 years or more for a one-bedroom unit, and 10 years or more for larger unit sizes.