A new initiative designed to encourage the development of affordable housing was recently unveiled by Toronto Mayor John Tory. Known as the City of Toronto’s Open Door Initiative, the approach includes a four-piece plan to unlock opportunities on private, public and non-profit land, accelerate the planning-approval process, reduce construction costs through expanded City financial incentives, and challenge the government and developers to increase their affordable housing development efforts.
“The Open Door Initiative is the City saying ‘yes’ to developers who want to work with us,” says Mayor Tory. “We’re going to streamline the process and cut red tape for developers who want to do business with the City so we can build much needed affordable housing quicker.”
Building on the four aforementioned themes, interdivisional City staff will be tasked with developing specific proposals after City Council has considered the initiative.
Toronto’s 200 Madison Avenue, the site where the announcement was made, will be used to demonstrate how the Open Door Initiative works. The City plans to expedite the approval-planning process for the location, issuing requests for proposals in May and allowing construction to begin in 2016. At the new affordable dwelling, residents, who will be selected from the Housing Connections waiting list, will pay below average market rent as a result of financial and other incentives.