City of Toronto welcomes residents to first modular, supportive housing building

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Ontario Construction Report staff writer

Less than eight months after council approval, the building at 11 Macey Ave. – part of the Toronto’s Modular Housing Initiative – opened in December. The city is also preparing to open its second modular, supportive housing building at 150 Harrison St. for a total of 100 new affordable, supportive homes within the next several weeks.

The new homes will house individuals exiting the shelter system and complements the City’s 2020-21 winter service plan to ensure safe and welcoming places for people experiencing homelessness during the winter weather.

“We have worked to be able to quickly welcome residents to their brand-new home with support services,” said Mayor John Tory. “These 56 apartments, built in months, not years are an incredible feat.

“The modular housing initiative is an innovative and cost-effective way in which we are building affordable housing while providing a quick, long-term response to help those experiencing homelessness.”

A big component of our housing plan is to invest in and create more supportive housing options.

“We know we need to build housing options quickly, modular housing is an innovative way for us to speed up the process and provide housing stability for residents across this city,” Tory said.

The building at 11 Macey Ave. has 56 studio apartments and the building at 150 Harrison St. has 44 studio apartments. Each building is three-storeys high and will include a common room, dining room, program space and administrative offices.

The Neighbourhood Group and COTA Health were selected to operate and provide support services at both locations. The operators will provide 24/7 on-site staffing and will offer supports to tenants, including:

  • housing stability and eviction prevention
  • harm reduction and relapse prevention
  • support with daily living activities, and
  • connections with community supports and other services such as:
  • primary care healthcare
  • volunteer and employment opportunities
  • income assistance programs

A Community Liaison Committee (CLC) has already been established and will be continued by the operators. The goal of the CLC is to foster and maintain positive relationships, information sharing and dialogue between the building operators, the residents and the broader community.

Modular housing is high-quality housing built in a factory-controlled setting and transported to the site for assembly. Each home is approximately 300 square feet and comes with a built-in kitchen (including a stove top), microwave and fridge. The homes are furnished with a twin bedframe and mattress, a lounge chair, dining table and chairs and a dresser. Twenty-five per cent of the homes are accessible.

Toronto will see 250 new homes built in two phases. The first 100 homes are Phase I. In Phase II, the City will deliver an additional 150 supportive homes in 2021. The full capital cost for the 250 homes is $47.5 million with $28.75 million coming from the Development Charges Reserve Fund for Subsidized Housing and $18.75 million is from the Government of Canada through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund in grants and recoverable loans.

The Modular Housing Initiative is one component of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, which currently has more than 65 projects underway that will add almost 9,000 new permanent affordable rental homes once completed. More information about the plan is available online

“The Neighbourhood Group (TNG) is very excited to be part of the City’s solution to affordable and supportive housing,” said Bill Sinclair, president and CEO.

“TNG works in various neighbourhoods across the city and we look forward to engaging our neighbours and working with our partner Cota in making this project successful. A very warm welcome to our residents at 11 Macey Ave., we look forward to getting to know you.”

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