Council unanimously approves creating 971 new affordable rental homes through the City’s Open Door Program

Today, Toronto City Council unanimously approved creating 971 new affordable rental homes in 15 developments through the Open Door Program.

With today’s endorsement by Council, a total of 11,143 affordable rental homes have now been approved through the City of Toronto’s Open Door Program (ODP). This program is designed to accelerate affordable housing construction by providing a range of incentives from the City, which could include an exemption of fees, charges or property tax; capital funding; the fast-tracking of planning approvals; and activating surplus public land. Approved projects must begin construction within three years of the date of approval in order to maintain access to the capital grant and/or incentives. 

Eleven of the 15 approved affordable housing developments are led by non-profit housing providers, and of these, three are by Indigenous groups. The homes will be affordable for a minimum period of 40 years, and in many cases, in perpetuity.

Along with today’s approval of 15 new affordable housing developments, Council also approved some key changes to the ODP, most notably a simplified, streamlined and continuous application process throughout the year, rather than only during a set period. The annual Call for Applications will continue for those non-profit and private sector developments that require capital funding rather than only Open Door incentives. Other updates to the ODP will be implemented in 2021, based on industry feedback, including, a simplified process for planning fee relief for non-profit groups, and a 30 per cent affordable gross floor area target of the overall development.

These changes address the following objectives: increasing the number of affordable homes approved; providing greater support to the non-profit housing sector; and aligning the ODP with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) programs so that ODP projects are better able to secure federal financial support.

The ODP assists the City in achieving the goals of its HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. The action plan sets targets for the approval of 40,000 new affordable rental homes and 4,000 new affordable ownership homes, including 18,000 supportive housing units, by 2030. The action plan also calls on federal and provincial governments to help create these permanent affordable and supportive housing opportunities.

Quotes

“Today, City Council took action to approve creating 971 new affordable rental homes through Toronto’s Open Door Program. We are doing everything we can as a municipal government to support the creation of new affordable housing so that everyone who wants to call Toronto home has a place to live.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory

“These homes will help lower-income households, including racialized groups, seniors, and essential workers, who have been disproportionately impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, access safe, secure, affordable housing. These new developments will also help create more inclusive, mixed-income communities in neighbourhoods across the city as envisioned in the Action Plan.”

– Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Dovercourt), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee