City calls for Open Door program applications

Applicants can apply for grants under the Open Door Affordable Housing Program

planned affordable housing site
Site of the Open Door housing proposal on Parliament Street. City of Toronto

The city has launched its call for applications for its Open Door Affordable Rental Housing Program, an annual call to build more affordable homes.

This announcement gives the opportunity for non-profit, co-operatives, and the private sector to apply for financial support in building new affordable rental homes. Applicants can apply to receive both capital funding and incentives, or just the latter. This year, up to $10 million in capital funding is available for applicants.

“The Open Door Program is a crucial pathway for providing more housing and more affordability in our city,” said Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford, a member of the city’s planning and housing committee. “Helping [our] future for Toronto where all have the opportunity to take part in our city’s growth and success.”

The Open Door program is a part of the 10-year HousingTO action plan that targets assisting over 341,000 homes across the spectrum, including 40,000 affordable homes for those in need.

The program is allowing these sectors to work with entities such as CreativeTO, Toronto community housing, TTC, municipal and provincial government, which are addressing the affordability gap.

As lands under the jurisdiction of these entities become available, the city can use them to build affordable units within mixed-income, transit-oriented areas as the Housing Now initiative has taken advantage of in the past.

One of the points being made in the Open Door program, similar to key points of previous years, is that at least 30 per cent of gross floor area within a development has to be made into affordable units. These affordable units must have rents no more than 100 per cent of the Average Market Rent.

Affordable housing is absolutely crucial, said Lisa Horrocks, executive director for Housing Open Today Toronto.

“How I see it is it’s the first building block of peoples’ lives,” Horrocks said. “If you can’t have appropriate affordable housing, then you’re stuck.”

Toronto being an ever-growing city, programs like Open Door put the city in the right direction regarding the needs of the city’s middle/working class and unhoused residents.

The city has planned to ensure the public and private sectors work together in harmony.

“I think at this point in time, with the housing crunch in Toronto, that the private sector needs to work with the non-profit sector,” Horrocks said. “Especially now that inclusionary zoning is coming…. It’s going to have to be partnerships moving forward.”

Inclusionary zoning is the new zoning policy that the city will implement to require new residential developments to include affordable housing, to ensure more mixed income residences in the city. It will be another solution to help aid in the affordability of the city.

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Posted: Nov 30 2021 10:19 pm
Filed under: News