December 6, 2017 by On-Site
TORONTO – As the weather turns cold for Toronto’s homeless population, the city’s Kensington Market neighbourhood is seeing construction begin on the city’s first purpose-built affordable homes for homeless people in more than 10 years.
Twenty-two new apartments are being built by St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society to house vulnerable people on an infill site. An excavator broke ground earlier this week in preparation for spring construction on the small strip of land beside St. Clare’s existing building on Leonard Ave., just east of Bathurst St. This unique three-storey project was backed by neighbours and made possible with government and private sector support.
St. Clare’s construction partners – including home and condo builders, unions and construction associations – are stepping up to the plate in a $1-million fundraising effort.
The corporate donors are: Aspen Ridge; Brown Group; Great Gulf Homes; Greenpark Homes; Heavy Construction Association of Toronto; Laurier Homes; Liberty Development; Lindvest; LiUNA Local 183; LiUNA Ontario Provincial District Council; Mattamy Homes; Menkes; Ontario Formwork Association; Silvercore; Tridel; and Yorkwood.
Through its Open Door Program, the City of Toronto is assisting the project with a $500,000 capital grant and waiving municipal fees and development charges.
On the fundraising efforts, St. Clare’s operations manager Andrea Adams said: “This was a must-do project for St. Clare’s. We are relieved to finally be through a two-year planning process and are grateful for the support of RESCON, Toronto Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, Councillor Joe Cressy and our very supportive neighbours.”
On the announcement, Deputy Mayor Bailão, the City of Toronto’s chair of the affordable housing committee, said: “I applaud the hard work and vision of St. Clare’s to make this innovative project a reality. St. Clare’s is a model that works. Their partnership-based approach has created new opportunities for those seeking a safe, clean, affordable place to call home.”
Councillor Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) added: “Ensuring access to safe and affordable housing for all our friends and neighbours is critical. We have a housing crisis in our city, and the new affordable homes at 25 Leonard Ave. are a crucial and welcome addition to our community.”
According to Michele McMaster, affordable housing consultant of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., “CMHC has investigated the St. Clare’s operating model, and found it to be replicable and scalable. We are delighted that St. Clare’s is inspiring private developers, and we hope to encourage more in the future.”
RESCON chairman emeritus Phil Rubinoff said: “We chose to support this project because we believe the construction industry should give back. St. Clare’s is a caring and effective organization that we respect, and we know that they have the right leadership to steer this project to success.”
This latest intensification of the site follows the award-winning 2006 addition of 26 apartments to the roof of the same building. Click here for more information on the 2006 project or visit www.stclares.ca for more.
SOURCE St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society