About Housing Now
THE HOUSING NOW INITIATIVE IS INVESTING IN CITY-OWNED LANDS ACROSS TORONTO FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING WITHIN MIXED-INCOME, MIXED-USE, TRANSIT-ORIENTED COMMUNITIES.
Housing Now will create a mix of affordable rental, market rental and ownership housing options to serve Toronto residents. The new affordable rental homes will remain affordable for 99 years, providing quality housing opportunities for future generations.
The creation of new housing on City-owned lands will provide Toronto residents with opportunities to live affordably near transit hubs and close to places of work, education and services. Investment in these well-located sites will also contribute to the broader community by delivering a wide range of city-building benefits, including new amenities and revitalized public spaces.
WHO IS THE HOUSING FOR?
Affordable rental units within Housing Now will be offered at 80 per cent of average market rent, with a minimum of ten per cent of the affordable units being offered at 40 per cent average market rent (AMR). Housing Now creates new affordable, market rental, and ownership homes for Toronto residents whose income is generated from occupations including cashiers, early child care educators, cab drivers, hotel receptionists, security guards, factory workers, secretaries or dental assistants.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
In November 2021, City Council approved the third phase of Housing Now. The program has expanded to include five new sites in addition to the 17 sites identified in Phases One and Two. Phase Three will create 2,469 new homes, including 915 affordable rental homes.
City Council initiated Housing Now in December 2018 to accelerate the development of affordable housing and mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-oriented communities on an initial 11 City-owned properties, as part of Phase One of the initiative. Phase One is estimated to create 11,415 residential units, with 3,964 being affordable rental units.
In May 2020, City Council approved the second phase of Housing Now. The six new sites in Phase Two will create 2,640 new residential units, which includes 978 affordable rental units.
Expanding Housing Now will increase and accelerate the creation of affordable housing opportunities for households with low to moderate income levels. The sites are close to transit, and will contribute to complete communities, through the delivery of amenities such as child care centres, community spaces, expansion to public parks, employment opportunities, enhanced landscape, and design, or heritage preservation.
In addition to the Phase Three sites, City Council has approved a pipeline of six sites which, subject to feasibility analysis, may be added to future phases of the Housing Now Initiative. Creating a pipeline of sites will enable staff to undertake early due diligence work to ensure sites can move more quickly through the planning approval and development stages, as well as receive future federal and provincial funding opportunities, if they become available, to support the development of new housing.
The six sites identified as potential future sites include Block 7 (Christie’s Secondary Plan), Parkdale Hub (which was added as a Phase 3 Housing Now project in April 2023), Allen District (Downsview), 101 Coxwell Avenue, 5151 Yonge Street and 20 Shortt Street. Full pre-development feasibility analysis and due diligence work still needs to be undertaken on these sites. Staff will report to Council on the results of this work as part of future annual program update reports.
Principles and Objectives
The development of new housing through Toronto’s Housing Now Initiative is guided by the following principles, which were adopted by City Council:
- Develop the properties to achieve the highest possible public benefits.
- Optimize the development of housing, including affordable rental homes, with a mix of unit types and sizes of market and affordable rental housing with a mix of unit types and sizes.
- Create homes affordable for a diverse range of incomes, including deeply affordable homes.
- Appropriately address and accommodate existing City uses and other operations on the 22 sites.
- Retain public ownership of the properties, including prioritizing long-term land leases.
- Affordability will be secured for new affordable rental units for 99 years
- Engage City Councillors and local communities in the planning and developing of each property.
- Support the participation of non-profit organizations in the Housing Now Initiative and encourage their involvement in the market offering process through a $1-million fund approved by City Council.
Action across the Housing Spectrum
Housing Now is a key program within the City of Toronto’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan and contributes towards the City’s target of approving 40,000 affordable rental units, including 18,000 supportive housing units over the next 10 years.
The Plan makes recommendations for action to address challenges identified across the housing spectrum, ranging from emergency shelter beds, safe and legal multi-tenant houses and long-term care homes to market affordability challenges for first-time homebuyers.
The City is moving forward on providing new housing opportunities through new affordable housing approvals and policy changes, including expanded permissions for secondary suites and laneway housing and a made-in-Toronto approach to short-term rentals.