1,202 applications, 100 accommodations available. New waterfront building captures the depth of the city’s housing problems

One thousand two hundred and two hopeful homes. Only 100 accommodations available.

Those are the odds of breaking into a brand new rental building on Toronto’s waterfront, which this week will hold a lottery for affordable housing for middle-income people in the city.

The building at 32 Freeland Street in the Yonge Street and Queen Quay area plans to welcome its first tenants this fall, in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, starting at $1,446 per month for smaller units. at $1,961 for the larger ones.

It is billed as housing « for the workforce », an idea centered on creating an average level of affordability – homes that do not target the deepest needs, such as rent-geared housing. income, but meet needs from the middle level. employees who are still struggling with Toronto rents.

« This is a group that has really slipped through the cracks, » said Karen Chapple, director of the University of Toronto’s School of Cities. These types of projects are often advertised as homes for the city’s essential workers, she said, like teachers and nurses.

But the number of applications received by property developer The Pinnacle International, shared by the town hall, illustrates the strong gap between the demand for affordable housing and what is now available.

Based on applications, the site will be able to accommodate just over eight per cent of those who show up, or around one in 12 households. “It’s actually typical of units like this everywhere. Since there are very few affordable housing options on the market…when these types of opportunities arise, the waiting lists are just insane,” Chapple said.

It’s a microcosm of a citywide problem. As for even more affordable housing, the city’s social housing waiting list numbered more than 80,500 households at the end of June.

In response to the uneven demand for housing at 32 Freeland, Toronto Housing Secretariat executive director Abi Bond said the building was just one project among the city’s broader efforts to boost supply. affordable housing. “We continue to work with private and nonprofit housing organizations, and all levels of government, to get ground breaking,” she wrote.

To decide who is offered a unit at 32 Freeland, applicants will be placed in a lottery, overseen by city officials. Those selected will then have five days to complete an eligibility and income review form, and provide supporting documentation such as notices of assessment and ID.

To qualify for one of the houses, a household must earn less than $69,408 per year for a one-bedroom unit, rising to $81,744 for a two-bedroom unit and $94,128 for a three-bedroom unit. bedrooms.

While Chapple chafes at the ‘workforce housing’ label, noting that the city’s workforce included a wide range of incomes from low to extremely high, she agrees that there is a deep need for affordable housing for middle-income people – especially as many have been priced off property, and Toronto has lost affordable housing due to renovations or conversions.

Anson Kwok, vice president of sales and marketing at Pinnacle, considers his new location particularly well-located for those working in the hospitality or downtown service industry.

When applications opened, he said the company saw an immediate surge of interest, adding that Pinnacle aims to run its lottery and notify selected applicants by the end of the week. “Clearly there is a widespread need for some form of affordable housing,” Kwok said.

Across Toronto, market rents have been rising, and Rentals.ca found the average listing on its platform in August was up 21% from the same month last year, hitting $2,528 per month – including studios averaging $1,771 and one-bedroom apartments on average. $2,093 per month.

Through September 30, applications are open for another city-backed affordable rental project along Toronto’s waterfront – with 204 new affordable apartments on offer at 99 Lake Shore Blvd.


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