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Toronto council supports acceleration of rental housing projects

Toronto council supports acceleration of rental housing projects

TORONTO — Toronto City Council has approved recommendations in staff reports that will allocate $351 million in capital funding to 18 affordable rental housing projects, enabling construction to start in 2024 and 2025.

The funding will help almost 6,000 new rental homes including 2,600 affordable rental and 3,380 rent-controlled homes currently delayed in pre-development phases move forward towards construction, stated a release.

The city’s new Rental Housing Supply Program proposes a framework to support a range of rental homes from construction starts through completion. The program replaces the city’s Open Door Affordable Rental Housing Program.

The city has set a goal of creating 65,000 rent-controlled homes including 6,500 rent-geared-to-income (RGI) homes by 2030.

Other commitments approved in the program include piloting a Community Housing Pre-development Fund to support non-profit, co-op and Indigenous housing providers to advance new projects; implementing the City of Toronto’s income-based definition of affordable rental housing which shifts the definition of affordable from a market-based approach to an income-based one; and establishing a framework to allocate up to $260,000 per unit in capital funding for new RGI and affordable rental homes.

City council also endorsed several updates to the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA) program which provides city funding and incentives to support the acquisition of private market rental housing by non-profit housing providers, Indigenous housing providers, co-operatives and community land trusts. The measures, together with a $30-million increase in MURA’s budget in 2024, will support community housing providers in acquiring an additional 1,000 rental homes under the program.

“Today we took big steps towards transforming our housing system to benefit the people of Toronto,” stated Mayor Olivia Chow in a statement. “We’re moving forward on new policies to protect renters from renoviction. All these changes will help build more affordable homes and protect renters.”

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