Toronto

Toronto offering $28M in incentives to get 600 affordable housing units open soon

Toronto city council approved nearly $28 million worth of incentives to build 600 affordable housing units on land provided by Queen's Park.

Queen's Park provides land in West Don Lands, College-Yonge area

Toronto will provide millions worth of incentives to help create affordable housing in the city. (John Rieti/CBC)

Toronto city council has approved nearly $28 million worth of incentives to build 600 affordable housing units on land provided by Queen's Park.

Council voted unanimously to support the plan, and Mayor John Tory is vowing to "do more, and do it quickly" when it comes to building affordable housing.

The future units will be in the West Don Lands and at a site on Grosvenor Street, near Yonge and College Streets, and they will have reduced rent for 40 or more years once open. 

Coun. Ana Bailao, who chairs the affordable housing committee, says the city's push comes as many people struggle to find a place to live.

CBC Toronto recently highlighted the growing concern in a series called "No Fixed Address."

"The need has never been this great," Bailao told CBC Toronto.

"We need many, many more of these incentives. That's the only way we're going to be able to move the ball forward."

But while the vote may be good news for low- and moderate-income people struggling to find a place to stay, it's unclear when the apartments will be ready. The city has approved other projects in recent years but few have opened.

City housing staff say council's approval today creates a "pipeline" that could result result in shovels being in the ground in a year-and-a-half, in part because it outlines to potential developers exactly what red tape the city's prepared to cut. 

Normally, planning staff told council, housing projects can take up to five years to approve.

Infrastructure Ontario will select a developer to build the towers. 

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