Select Toronto families on the waiting list for an affordable housing spot will be getting some financial relief — the first new housing allowance granted since 2012.

Mayor John Tory announced Thursday that 550 families will get a $250 monthly allowance, to help them cover rent and other costs so they can stay in their current homes while holding their spot on the waitlist.

The money comes from a joint federal-provincial program administered by the city.

The city currently provides housing allowances for about 4,000 families. As of May 2016 (the most recent month for which statistics are available) there were 87,848 households with active applications for social housing with the city.

Families with three or more children who have been on the waiting list for 10 years or more will get 500 of the new allowances. The remaining 50 allowances will go to wheelchair users who've been on the waitlist for more than eight years.

Tory acknowledged that the money won't solve the city's housing problem, but says it will provide a boost for some families. "The challenge of finding an affordable place to live is one of the biggest that we face today. There is a real and growing divide in this city, between those who can afford to live and work here and those who can't."