Affordable housing in Toronto the focus of executive committee meeting

Toronto Mayor John Tory speaks during a news conference at city hall. Nick Westoll / Global News

Mayor John Tory says he is confident a plan to build nearly 10,000 new rental units on city-owned land will help alleviate some of the demand for affordable housing in Toronto.

“It’s a common sense initiative that we can take now with our city-owned land,” Tory said during a news conference at city hall prior to an executive committee meeting on Wednesday.

“We can have shovels in the ground as early as next year on some of these sites and that is the speed with which we want to move forward.”

READ MORE: Mayor John Tory eyes affordable housing as top priority in first 100 days of 2nd term

City staff have identified 11 sites of surplus city-owned land as locations for additional affordable housing units to be built.

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A staff report said one-third of the new builds, approximately 3,700 units, will be reserved for affordable housing at 80 per cent of average market rent.

However, housing advocacy groups say the number of affordable units being made available is too low and the market rent will be out of reach for many low and moderate income tenants.

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“This plan does nothing to help the thousands of people on the housing wait list. Tenants need help from this city, since the province is cutting our wages and supports,” Marva Burnett, president of ACORN Canada, said in a media release.

“This is the city’s land, why is it that when it comes to housing we’ve always got to sacrifice and get nothing in return.”

If passed at the executive committee, the plan to dedicate city-owned land to built more housing units will then need city council approval.

Tory has pledged to build 40,000 affordable housing units over 12 years.

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