Today, Mayor John Tory officially opened an affordable and permanent supportive rental housing building that includes 120 apartments for women at 389 Church St. These self-contained apartments will create a safe, inclusive and supportive community for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, gender diverse people, and youth and seniors who have experienced or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness; and will be operated by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) Toronto.
The Mayor was joined for the virtual announcement by Parm Gill, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on behalf of the Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Chair, Planning and Housing Committee); Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre); Kevin Marshman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC); and Heather McGregor, Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Toronto, to announce the reopening of 389 Church St.
The modernization of the 13-storey residential building was undertaken by TCHC, as the building owner. The affordable housing project was funded by the City of Toronto, through the Open Door Program and Section 37 funding and the Government of Ontario's Home for Good program, which is designed to assist people who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless, in finding and maintaining housing with the appropriate supports.
The YWCA Toronto has leased the building from TCHC and will manage the property and oversee the delivery of support services to the tenants. The comprehensive support services will be provided by YWCA Toronto; Wigwamen Incorporated; Margaret's Community Housing and Support Services; and Elizabeth Fry. Services include housing stabilization, harm reduction, health promotion, and increased access to primary health care and acute mental health services. The building includes a pottery studio, as well programs that focus on celebrating the Indigenous cultural heritage of residents.
Tenants will start moving in shortly, with full occupancy anticipated by the end of May.
High-resolution images and b-roll of the new housing can be found in the City's online Media Room: www.toronto.ca/home/media-room/video-b-roll-images/389-church-st-b-roll-images/
The City's HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan sets an aggressive housing agenda focused on supporting 341,000 households over the next 10 years and calls for the City to approve 40,000 new affordable rental homes, including 18,000 supportive homes. More information about the plan is available online: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/community-partners/affordable-housing-partners/housingto-2020-2030-action-plan/
"As a city we have made it clear that we are committed to expanding our affordable housing supply with a focus on supportive housing. Today's announcement is a good example of taking city assets and modernizing them so that they serve our residents better while meeting our affordable housing goals. I want to thank the provincial government and YWCA for partnering with our city and for allowing us to create a new, safe, and inclusive space for some of our city's most vulnerable residents. By working together, we can continue to build up Toronto and ensure that everyone has a roof over their head."
- Mayor John Tory
"Our government is committed to supporting vulnerable Ontarians, including women who are trying to access the affordable housing and supports they need now. That is why we are providing nearly $18 million for this project at 389 Church St., to help build a more efficient and sustainable community housing system for years to come."
- Parm Gill, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
"I am pleased to see additional supportive housing options become available for residents of our city. We have been working hard to create opportunities to provide permanent housing for those who have experienced homelessness, or are at risk of being homeless, and today's announcement reaffirms our commitment to continue to move forward with our housing plan."
- Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair
"These 120 new homes symbolize a new start for so many vulnerable Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and gender-diverse residents as well as youth and seniors who are or have been experiencing homelessness. This neighbourhood has always been a welcoming community to all who live, visit and work here and I look forward to seeing the new residents in our community."
- Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto-Centre)
"TCHC undertook substantial renovations to our 389 Church St. building in partnership with the City. We converted an underused asset into a revitalized building that will provide 120 clean, safe homes for women who have experienced homelessness, helping to improve their lives while also preserving this building for much-needed supportive housing."
- Kevin Marshman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC)
"We are so proud to partner with the City and other agencies in opening the doors of 389 Church St. to the women in our community who need it most. Supportive housing is critical to alleviating poverty and helping women build lives for themselves in which they will be healthy, happy and safe. This building represents many wonderful new beginnings."
- Heather M. McGregor, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Toronto
"For the clients of Margaret's, this is a place to call home, a catalyst for recovery and a pathway out of poverty, as we incrementally chip away at the homeless crisis which disproportionately affects women."
- Diane Walter, Executive Director of Margaret's Housing and Community Support Services
"Wigwamen is proud to partner with the City, YWCA Toronto, Margaret's Housing and Community Support Services and Elizabeth Fry Toronto to provide much-needed supportive housing at 389 Church St. It is our hope that, coupled with the services provided by Native Women's Resource Centre, the Indigenous women and families moving into these designated units will find health, community and support at their new address."
- Angus D. Palmer, General Manager of Wigwamen Inc.
"When addressing the issue of homeless, often women of all identities are an afterthought, and they end up in generic housing which is often unsafe. Elizabeth Fry Toronto feels grateful to be able to work with the YWCA to create a safe space to house some of the City's most marginalized women with supports that meets their needs, particularly women who are returning to their communities after being incarcerated. Women on release often have nowhere to live which significantly decreases their chance at turning their lives around. Thanks to this partnership, we can make a difference to women who are rebuilding their lives."
– Kelly Potvin, Executive Director of Elizabeth Fry Toronto.
"Native Women's Resource Centre (NWRCT) is excited to partner with the YWCA to offer supportive services for Indigenous tenants who will reside at their new Church Street location. It is crucial that Indigenous women have support services from Indigenous-led agencies in order offer cultural services and appropriate programs. NWRCT and the YWCA have partnered to ensure this option is available for the community to bring forth a great approach to supportive housing and supports for Indigenous tenants. The women will have access to NWRCT staff, Traditional Healers, programming and more. The YWCA has taken an important first step in collaborating with us to create this space for the women. We believe this is going to foster a positive relationship and environment for all the women of the YWCA."
- Pamela Hart, Executive Director, Native Women's Resource Centre of Toronto
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