Toronto is looking to build more affordable housing, with a 50 unit townhouse development approved last week in East Toronto.
Habitat for Humanity GTA, along with Mayor John Tory and the Toronto Foundation, have approved the affordable housing development at 140 Pinery Trail. This is the first project to use a dense build form of back-to-back-stacked townhouses, featuring three, four, and five bedroom units. The housing project is set to house 50 families by 2019.
Habitat for Humanity has an affordable housing model that allows families to become homeowners while paying a no-interest mortgage. The mortgage is capped at 30 per cent of their annual housing income, and instead of contributing a down payment, the family must volunteer 500 hours towards the construction of their home and other habitat properties.
The Toronto Foundation is providing funding for 15 homes through a social impact investment. This type of investment looks to help push forward positive social supports such as affordable housing, but it is a loan. This loan will be paid back using mortgage payments once the first 15 families move in. Private donors will also contribute to the loans. The Toronto Foundation was created in 1981 and helps provide resources for individuals and families.
Other donors for the project include the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), Right at Home Realty, Great-West Life Realty Advisors, Enbridge Gas Distribution and the Clark Family Foundation.
Habitat for Humanity GTA is a non-profit housing organization that works with families to help them obtain affordable housing. The organization has built over 300 homes in Brampton, Caledon, Toronto and the York Region since 1998, and is affiliated with Habitat for Humanity worldwide.
This affordable housing project is the first recipient of the Toronto Foundation social impact investment. The Open Door affordable housing initiative is pushing for non-profits to work together to create housing, and this project is a big win for the city. It is important to note though that it is somewhat disappointing that Toronto must lean on non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit that is already stretched from providing resources to dilapidated regions around the world. Toronto is clearly in dire need for affordable housing and is looking for help. On the other hand, it is a progressive step forward to see large private donors contribute to the funding. Hopefully this is a trend that continues and ultimately solves the housing crisis in the largest Canadian city.