Twenty-two affordable housing units open in Kensington Market

Twenty-two brand new, purpose-built affordable apartments for homeless people have opened in Kensington Market in downtown Toronto thanks to a collaborative effort between the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON), St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society, and the City of Toronto.

Built on a small strip of land that was formerly a parking lot next to an existing 77-unit affordable housing building.

The apartments are part of an intensification project next to an existing 77-unit building at 25 Leonard Ave. owned and managed by St. Clare’s.

According to developers, this is the first purpose-built affordable homes project for populations experiencing chronic homelessness in the city in more than 10 years.

RESCON spearheaded a campaign that raised $1 million for the $5.4-million project from 21 donors in the construction and infrastructure sectors.

Tenants will also have access to shared facilities including laundry and other programming space.

The City of Toronto also assisted with a $500,000 capital grant through its Open Door Program, and a $150,000 development grant, and St. Clare’s is contributing $3.8 million through equity and mortgage financing.

“I am delighted to see this project come to fruition and I am especially proud that residential builders and developers, construction associations and labour unions were able to come together with St. Clare’s to make this work and help tackle homelessness in Toronto,” said Phil Rubinoff, chairman emeritus of RESCON who spearheaded the fundraising initiative.

Studio apartments with a washroom, kitchen and combined sleeping/living space.

Members of RESCON were looking to give back to the community and were partnered with St. Clare’s by longtime housing advocate Simon Liston. St. Clare’s track record in assisted housing is known throughout the city as is their compassionate, caring, and effective approach to housing those in need.

The three-storey structure has been erected on a small strip of land just east of Bathurst Street and across from Toronto Western Hospital that was formerly a parking lot. Excavation for the building began in 2018.

St. Clare’s executive director Andrea Adams said the project would not have been possible without the support of the private sector donors.

Laser-cut, steel railing panels that were created based on art from local artists Margaux Smith and Leo Krukowski.

“We appreciate the support and trust of RESCON and the contractors and unions for contributing to a tangible response to homelessness, and we hope this sets the stage for future collaborations. Homelessness is a solvable problem, and we can do this together. We are relieved that our construction team was able to get the structure finished in spite of the COVID crisis. This is a time when it is particularly clear just how important housing is for vulnerable populations.

Donors to the project included: Aspen Ridge; Brown Group; Carpenters Local 27; Carpenters Local 675; Empire; Great Gulf; Greenpark Homes; Heavy Construction Association of Toronto; Hullmark; Laurier Homes; Liberty Development; Lifetime; Lindvest; LiUNA  Local 183; LiUNA Ontario Provincial District Council; Mattamy Homes; Menkes; Ontario Formwork Association; RESCON; Silvercore Properties; Sorbara Group; Tridel; and Yorkwood.

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