Earlier this week the Government of Canada announced the launch of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) investing $1 billion to create up to 3,000 new permanent, affordable housing units across the country. City Council responded quickly today, adopting a motion to receive the $203.3 million made available to Toronto through the Major Cities Stream of the program to create a minimum of 417 new permanent affordable homes. City Staff have been directed to identify projects that can be brought online in the next 12 months.
The number of homeless is up during the pandemic as more people suffer economic hardship – lose their jobs, can’t pay bills, suffer emotionally – in addition to shelters filling up. The City of Toronto has responded by opening 40 new shelter locations since March and moving 948 people to date into safe, indoor spaces. In addition, the City has successfully housed more than 2,000 people who were homeless in shelters into permanent homes through a combination of housing allowances and rent-geared-to-income units, which represents a 50 per cent increase from last year.
A lot of important work remains to be done and will continue under the HousingTO plan. But a big thanks is appropriate to our federal partners, including our own Member of Parliament, Ali Ehsassi, for their continued support and advocacy on housing efforts and accelerating progress in a significant way.