The city’s modular housing initiative at 150 Harrison St. and 11 Macey Ave. will now be overseen by two not-for-profit organizations — The Neighbourhood Group (TNG) and COTA Health. The organizations will provide support services this fall under a 35-year term agreement.
“Supportive housing combines affordable housing with coordinated services, and can truly make a difference in peoples’ lives,” said Mayor John Tory. “The pandemic has further highlighted the need for supportive housing, and I am very pleased to be working with The Neighbourhood Group and COTA Health to provide this as part of our modular housing initiative. Leveraging the experience of these two organizations will be critical to creating positive housing outcomes for our residents.”
The rapid construction of the three-storey 44-room building at 150 Harrison St. has been the subject of controversy.
The city decided to build 1,000 affordable housing units in December of 2019 but rushed part of the project when COVID-19 placed many of the city’s homeless in temporary shelters that have been the subject of much community debate.
“Site preparation is anticipated to begin at the #150Harrison site starting Monday, September 14, 2020″ – @TORHousing #ModularHousing #SupportiveHousing #AffordableHousing #TOPoli pic.twitter.com/PZ86p6dsso
— HousingNowTO (@HousingNowTO) September 11, 2020
There has been much criticism about the new affordable housing projects. Some residents are concerned that their voices have not been heard, and others urge the city to consider building green spaces or community centres instead of affordable housing units.
The Neighbourhood Group (a United Way anchor organization) and COTA Health will jointly provide the residents of the housing projects with mental health support, crisis response plans, 24-hour support, employment opportunities, healthcare, and various other support systems.
“Our goal is to create affordable housing that works for the people who need it most, and we know that providing support is part of the equation for many. That is why our HousingTO 2020-203 action plan calls for providing support services to 18,000 individuals and families through supportive housing,” said deputy mayor Ana Bailao.
Construction at 150 Harrison St. begins today according to HousingNowTO, and the three-storey unit at 11 Macey Ave. is already underway. The two units will house more than 100 homeless people freeing up space at some of the city’s temporary shelters.