Toronto to transform historic Cabbagetown building into affordable housing project

The City of Toronto announced progress in providing more affordable housing in Cabbagetown.

The city’s partnership with Dixon Hall and Toronto Community Housing to renovate affordable, multi-tenant rooming housing at 502-508 Parliament St., will now receive $6 million in Section 37 community benefits, allowing the revitalization to proceed this fall and be ready for occupancy by spring 2021.

The project will deliver approximately 44 revitalized multi-tenant units with shared kitchen space, restored heritage assets, and newly landscaped grounds.

In addition to the Section 37 contribution, nearly $1 million in funding and affordable housing incentives are being provided through the city’s Open Door program to support the revitalization.

“The global health pandemic caused by COVID-19 has brought into acute focus the social, economic and health inequities and other challenges faced by those who are currently underhoused or experiencing homelessness. The City of Toronto is taking action to provide people experiencing homelessness with access to good quality, safe, permanent, supportive and affordable housing,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said of the project.

The properties at 502-508 Parliament St. are considered Second Empire historical row houses, as they were built in 1879 by noted builder J. Bowden, and were listed on the city’s Heritage Registry in 1975.

As some have pointed out, rooming houses, and what to do about them, has been on the city agenda for the past few years.

They are currently owned by Toronto Community Housing, but work is underway to transfer ownership of these vacant multi-tenant homes to Dixon Hall — the lead agency that provides support to tenants in Toronto Community Housing (onsite support services will also be provided by Dixon Hall).

“Dixon Hall has been a part of the downtown east community since 1929. We are thrilled to be a part of this project that will not only contribute to the ongoing beautification of the Cabbagetown neighbourhood, but will, vitally, enable affordable, supportive housing solutions for those in need,” said Mercedes Watson, CEO of Dixon Hall.

Last month, the city also announced a new program that will help newcomers experiencing homelessness during COVID-19.

The program, operated on behalf of the city by the community agency, WoodGreen Community Services, is providing 70 vacant units in Regent Park as temporary housing for refugees and asylum seekers.

The site will operate temporarily until clients find permanent housing — or by December 15, 2020 — in alignment with the Regent Park revitalization schedule.

Article exclusive to TRNTO