11 February 2021 Posted By : Joanna Lavoie

New affordable, supportive housing building opens in downtown Toronto's Church-Wellesley area

A 13-storey residential building, which will provide women and non-binary individuals with an affordable, safe, inclusive, and permanent place to call home, has opened its doors in downtown Toronto’s Church-Wellesley area.

Located at 389 Church St., just south of Carlton Street, the 120-unit supportive housing project is the result of a partnership between the City of Toronto and YWCA Toronto.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, gender diverse people, youth, and seniors who have experienced or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness will live at this recently modernized building, which includes a pottery studio and programs that focus on celebrating the Indigenous cultural heritage of many of its residents.

Tenants will start moving in shortly. Full occupancy is expected by the end of May.

The City of Toronto, through its Open Door Program and Section 37 funding along with the provincial government’s Home for Good program, which is designed to assist people who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless, in finding and maintaining housing with the appropriate supports, paid for this affordable housing project.

Toronto Community Housing, which owns this previously underused property and took care of the recent renovations, has leased the building to YWCA Toronto, which will manage it and oversee the delivery of support services to the tenants.

Wigwamen Incorporated, Margaret's Community Housing and Support Services, Elizabeth Fry, and YWCA Toronto will be providing these comprehensive supports, which will include housing stabilization, harm reduction, health promotion, and increased access to primary health care and acute mental health services.

Heather M. McGregor, YWCA Toronto’s chief executive officer, said her organization is proud to be partnering with the City and other agencies to provide affordable, permanent housing to women in the community who need it the most.

“Supportive housing is critical to alleviating poverty and helping women build lives for themselves in which they will be healthy, happy and safe,” she said in a Feb. 4 news release.

“This building represents many wonderful new beginnings.”

Local Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam agreed.

“These 120 new homes symbolize a new start for so many vulnerable Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and gender-diverse residents, as well as youth and seniors, who are or have been experiencing homelessness,” she said.

“This neighbourhood has always been a welcoming community to all who live, visit and work here and I look forward to seeing the new residents in our community.”

Mayor John Toronto said this newly opened housing development is a “good example of taking city assets and modernizing them so that they serve our residents better while meeting our affordable housing goals.” He also said this project shows that the City is committed to growing its supply of affordable, not to mention supportive, housing.

Echoed Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, who is the chair of Toronto’s Planning and Housing Committee.

“I am pleased to see additional supportive housing options become available for residents of our city. We have been working hard to create opportunities to provide permanent housing for those who have experienced homelessness, or are at risk of being homeless, and today's announcement reaffirms our commitment to continue to move forward with our housing plan,” she said in a release.

This initiative is part of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, which aims to approve 40,000 new affordable rental homes with 18,000 supportive homes, including 1,000 modular homes.

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