City of Toronto Cutting Red Tape for Affordable Housing

Mixed-income affordable housing planned for 200 Madison Avenue, Toronto

On a plot of City–owned land yesterday at 200 Madison Avenue, south of Davenport Road, Mayor John Tory announced his Open Door initiative which will encourage developers to build more affordable housing in Toronto. The initiative will streamline the process by which developers can have their affordable housing projects approved. The site at 200 Madison will be the first property to follow the expedited approvals process.

In 2010 City Council set a goal of creating 1,000 affordable rental and 200 affordable ownership homes annually. Since then demand has gone up and, according to Housing Opportunities Toronto, by 2020 the city will require 10,000 additional affordable rental and 2,000 affordable ownership homes. Progress has been made, with a total of 2,792 new affordable rental and 750 affordable ownership homes being completed, but achievement remains under target. 

The Open Door initiative will operate around four main measures, by "unlocking opportunities" on private, public, and non-profit land. It will do this by fast tracking the planning-approval process, expanding City financial incentives to reduce construction costs, and by challenging provincial and federal governments and private and non-profit developers to scale up their efforts. These efforts will build on existing ones, including the extension of the federal/provincial Investment in Affordable Housing program to 2020, to help provide housing allowances to very-low-income families and individuals.

Mayor Tory has also called on federal and provincial governments to release more government-owned land and commit other resources in Toronto for affordable housing. He has also planned for the streamlining of the approvals process so that construction of the first Open Door projects can start in 2016.

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Source: Urban Toronto, 04/28/2015

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Sharon Chung

Sharon Chung

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