25 Leonard Avenue
Condo and homebuilders join forces to help house the homeless
(CNW) — As the weather turns cold for Toronto’s homeless population, the city’s Kensington Market neighbourhood is seeing construction begin on Toronto’s first purpose-built homes for homeless people in more than 10 years.
An excavator broke ground earlier this week in preparation for spring construction on the small strip of land beside St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society’s existing building at 25 Leonard Avenue, just east of Bathurst Street. This unique three-storey, 22-unit project was backed by neighbours and made possible with government and private sector support.
St. Clare’s construction partners — including home and condo builders, unions and construction associations — are stepping up to the plate in a $1 million fundraising effort.
The corporate donors are Aspen Ridge, Brown Group, Great Gulf, Greenpark, Heavy Construction Association of Toronto, Laurier Homes, Liberty Development, Lindvest, LiUNA Local 183, LiUNA Ontario Provincial District Council, Mattamy Homes, Menkes, Ontario Formwork Association, Silvercore, Tridel and Yorkwood.
Through its Open Door Program, Toronto is assisting the project with a $500,000 capital grant and waiving municipal fees and development charges.
“This was a must-do project for St. Clare’s. We are relieved to finally be through a two-year planning process and are grateful for the support of RESCON, Toronto Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, Councillor Joe Cressy and our very supportive neighbours, said Andrea Adam, St. Clare’s operations manager.
“I applaud the hard work and vision of St. Clare’s to make this innovative project a reality,” said Bailão, chairwoman of Toronto’s affordable housing committee. “St. Clare’s is a model that works. Their partnership-based approach has created new opportunities for those seeking a safe, clean, affordable place to call home.”
“Ensuring access to safe and affordable housing for all our friends and neighbours is critical,” Cressy added. “We have a housing crisis in our city, and the new affordable homes at 25 Leonard Avenue are a crucial and welcome addition to our community.”
According to Michele McMaster, affordable housing consultant of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, “CMHC has investigated St. Clare’s operating model and found it to be replicable and scalable. We are delighted that St. Clare’s is inspiring private developers, and we hope to encourage more in the future.”
“We chose to support this project because we believe the construction industry should give back. St. Clare,s is a caring and effective organization that we respect, and we know that they have the right leadership to steer this project to success, said RESCON chairman emeritus Phil Rubinoff.
This latest intensification of the site follows the award-winning 2006 addition of 26 apartments to the roof of the building at 25 Leonard.
St. Claire’s is a charitable foundation and landlord responsible for 413 rental units in five buildings across Toronto to help get the homeless and hard-to-house into their own home to give them privacy and dignity.
RESCON is the non-profit association that represents more than 200 of Ontario’s residential builders. Its members build highrise, midrise and lowrise homes, including rental apartments and social housing.