Toronto, Ontario - The official opening of new affordable rental homes for low and moderate-income seniors and families was held in Toronto today. The West Don Lands received nearly $25 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments. The construction of these new units has helped stimulate the economy and create approximately 570 jobs in Toronto. Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development and Member of Parliament for Newmarket-Aurora, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development); the Honourable Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and Ana Bailão, Councillor for Ward 18 (Davenport), made the announcement.
"It is a pleasure to see that the West Don Lands housing complex is improving the lives of the people of Toronto," said Parliamentary Secretary Brown. "Our Government is proud to invest in housing in this city and across the country and to help seniors and families access affordable housing that meets their needs."
"This beautiful new rental housing complex provides families and seniors with access to more stable and affordable homes," said the Honourable Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "Communities like this help to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and enjoy a high quality of life."
"Thanks to a partnership between the federal and provincial governments, City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing, lower-income seniors and families have started new lives in the new community of West Don Lands," said Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport), the City's Housing Advocate and Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee. "I also want to congratulate Councillor Pam McConnell for her work in bringing affordable housing to Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale."
The nearly $25 million investment provided through the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program and Canada's Economic Action Plan has been used to create 243 new rental housing units at 589 King Street East. Developed by Toronto Community Housing, the project site is part of the West Don Lands revitalization plan that includes the site for the 2015 Pan-Am Athletes' Village, a new student residence for George Brown College and a YMCA building. The site contains two four-storey buildings with 115 affordable rental family units and an eight-storey building of 128 affordable rental seniors units.
The City of Toronto increased the number of affordable homes by directing an additional $7.49 million to this development from the provincial Developing Opportunities for Ontario Renters (DOOR) funding program, made possible through the federal Housing Trust. Toronto Community Housing funded the remaining capital construction costs, which it expects to recover through rental revenues over the life of the building.
"In the West Don Lands, Toronto Community Housing is contributing to the transformation of the area into a successful, mixed-use, mixed income community," said Greg Spearn, Interim President and CEO, Toronto Community Housing. "These new homes are part of our development program that includes rebuilding or refurbishing over 5,000 homes in revitalization communities across Toronto."
Annually, the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) invests approximately $2 billion in housing. These investments improve the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people. Economic Action Plan 2013 continued this commitment with a federal investment of more than $1.25 billion over five years to extend the Investment in Affordable Housing Program to 2019. The Government of Canada will ensure that funds provided to provinces and territories support the use of apprentices, which will support training of skilled labour.
Ontario continues to build new affordable housing and repair existing units for Ontarians with housing needs. Since 2003, the province has committed more than $4 billion in funding for affordable housing, which has helped support more than 20,000 new affordable rental housing units, more than 275,000 repairs and improvements to social and affordable housing units and rental and down payment assistance to more than 90,000 households in need. Ontario's Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy has set a strong foundation for a more efficient, accessible affordable housing system and now the province has launched consultations to support a renewed Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy. Participants can submit their views to the government online, by telephone or in writing by July 3, 2015.
Investing in affordable housing is part of the Ontario government's economic plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.