Vulnerable seniors housed following opening of modular housing project in East York

WoodGreen Community services will provide support for residents

The new modular housing at 540 Cedarvale Ave. (Claire Forth / Toronto Observer) 

Several senior citizens now have new roofs over their heads, thanks to the opening of 59 new permanent modular homes in East York.

Residents started moving on Dec. 1, a year after construction first began.

The homes are located inside a three-story building at 540 Cedarvale Ave., which was constructed to house single seniors exiting homelessness who have experienced insecure housing.

WoodGreen Community Services, which has decades of experience in housing seniors, are the non-profit housing provider for the project.

The building has staff available 24 hours each day, who are trained in supporting vulnerable seniors.

The 59 studio apartments all include a kitchen and bathroom.

Residents have access to common amenities, including a dining room, laundry room and programming space.

There is a commercial kitchen on-site that can provide residents with meals.

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The homes were built using modular construction, an aspect that has received praise from housing advocates.

Sheila Lacroix is a Leaside-based member of the Canadian Federation of University Women, and an affordable housing advocate.

“It can be put together quickly,” she says of modular construction. “It’s like building blocks.”

According to the city, traditional construction projects can take from 18 to 24 months of on-site construction to complete. These new, modular homes took 12 months.

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Lacroix said that there are some misconceptions about the permanency of modular houses.

“It’s a permanent residence,” she said. “When I talk to some people, they think of container houses or something similar.”

Lacroix believes more people would understand after seeing the building in person.

“It’s a real building and a very attractive building too.”

These homes are part of a rapid-response initiative launched by the City of Toronto during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal of the initiative is to create 3,000 new affordable and supportive housing opportunities in less than two years.

The city is on track to exceed that target, having secured funding for more than 3,600 new housing opportunities.

Kevin Edmonson, Vice President for Community Care Services at WoodGreen, said he is impressed with what has been accomplished.

“Projects like this make me very optimistic,” he said, also recalling a previous modular housing project in Victoria Park in North York.

However, said there is much that still needs to be done.

“I think we have a lot of work to do to create affordable housing and to create opportunities for people that are currently in shelters,” he said.

Another East End project WoodGreen has in progress is transforming the former Danforth Baptist Church into more affordable units for seniors.

You can learn more on their website.

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Posted: Dec 6 2022 9:00 am
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