Fifty-nine prefabricated studio apartments arrived at a City of Toronto modular housing site on Wednesday, ready to be assembled into a new three-storey permanent supportive housing development.
The apartments, going up at 540 Cedervale Avenue in East York, caused a stir last year after local residents objected to the loss of the parking lot that previously occupied the site. But the City forged ahead, delivering the new units that will provide homes to those experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
“Building more affordable and supportive housing continues to be a key priority for me as Mayor and for our city," said Mayor John Tory. "A big part of that work includes finding new and innovative methods to bring affordable housing as quickly as possible. Modular Housing has proven to be a unique concept that is allowing us to create housing in months not years."
The studios, each of which were built in a factory and then transported to the Cedarvale site to be assembled, has its own kitchen and bathroom. The building, once complete, will be run by a non-profit housing provider overseeing common resident amenities like the dining room, programming space, and a commercial kitchen used to provide on-site meals for residents.
"540 Cedarvale will be a place of opportunity and a new beginning for Torontonians exiting homelessness," said Councillor Brad Bradford.
The new development comes as part of City Council's COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Recovery Response Plan, which aimed to create 3,000 new affordable and supportive homes in 2021 and 2022. The City says it's now on track to surpass that target with a total of 3,300 homes anticipated to be complete by the end of the year, dependent on confirmation of provincial funding.
When the City announced its intention to redevelop the East York site, local residents quickly spoke out against it, citing concerns about safety and density. The parking lot, located across the street from a school, recreation centre, public pool, and park, was not an appropriate choice, residents said. At a protest held in February of last year, residents told Global News that the lot was a community "hub," with one resident adding that it was not a good fit for "people going through the most troubling and difficult times of their lives with addiction and mental health issues."
The City has already completed two other modular buildings, one at 11 Macey Avenue and the other at 321 Dovercourt Road, providing a total of 100 homes. Two more are in the works in addition to the Cedarvale site -- one at 39 Dundalk Drive, set to have 57 units, and another at 175 Cummer Avenue with a planned 59 apartments.