Today is National Housing Day, and to mark the occasion came an announcement that Toronto is getting 300 to 400 new affordable housing units.
Values-based property developers Castlepoint Numa Inc. and multi-service organization WoodGreen Community Services announced a strategic partnership to deliver and manage four projects that are slated for completion in the next three to 10 years that will house low and middle-income segments of Toronto's rental market.
The affordable units will be priced at 80% of the average market rent and delivered without any direct government subsidy. Under a memorandum of understanding, Castlepoint Numa and its partners will retain ownership and leverage WoodGreen's experience to assist in the delivery and management of the units.
The first project will be a 108-unit rental building with 10 to 15 affordable apartments located at 72 Perth Avenue. It is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2024.
Daytime aerial view of Toronto cityscape
"This has been in the works for several years and started with agreements with the city on our waterfront sites that demonstrated meaningful, affordable-housing delivery without government subsidy can work on private-sector lands," said Elsa Fancello, vice-president planning and development at Castlepoint Numa of the initiative.
In view of Toronto's new inclusionary zoning mandate -- which will require condo developers to reserve five-to-10% of new units located near major transit hubs, for affordable rentals or affordably-priced homes come 2022 -- Fancello added she believes Castlepoint Numa's partnership with WoodGreen will be "a catalyst for many other similar alliances between developers and providers of social and community services."
Such strategic partnerships and collaborations are key to addressing Toronto’s relentless affordable housing challenges, say the key players behind the initiative.
"Our focus is to achieve the best possible outcomes for a diverse mix of tenants who face economic, social, and health related barriers to accessing and retaining affordable housing," said Anne Babcock, CEO and president of WoodGreen. "We want to demonstrate that strategic partnerships of this kind can have a significant and lasting impact on people's lives.”
Inclusionary zoning offers an impactful opportunity for condo developers to partner with non-profit housing providers. "Castlepoint Numa and WoodGreen have jumped ahead of the curve of inclusionary zoning, with these new units committed before the legislation takes effect," said Alfredo Romano, president of Castlepoint Numa. "The private sector has to be fully engaged if we're going to move the needle."
As the Greater Toronto Area's affordable housing crisis shows no signs of abating, let's hope that needle begins to budge soon.