As Toronto city councillors prepare to meet for their first-ever virtual council meeting Thursday, the mayor is seeking approval of a modular supportive housing initiative.

The program, announced Wednesday during the city’s daily COVID-19 press conference by Mayor John Tory, seeks to enter into a non-competitive agreement with Calgary-based Horizon North to install 110 modular housing units for permanent supportive housing.

The units will be ready for occupancy this fall, with hopes to bring 250 units online by next year.

The first 110-unit phase will cost $20.9 million, Tory said, with funding coming from the city’s development charges reserve fund for subsidized housing, and from the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation’s Affording Housing Innovation Fund.

“I’ll be working with the Province of Ontario to secure from them the operating funding for health-related support services and housing subsidies, so that deeply affordable supportive homes can be delivered at the two sites, and delivered at war-time speed.”

Horizon North supplies and operates modular housing camps for workers in north Alberta oil sands work sites, and, according to council’s Thursday agenda, has provided similar structures in Vancouver.

The city will also be establishing interim housing for those homeless sleeping in encampments in two vacant midtown apartment buildings.

Leased by the city from a local developer, the 125 units will house vulnerable clients for up to six months at a cost to the city of $55 per day.

On-site supports include 24-hour security, case management, meals, laundry, free wi-fi internet and cable television.

The units will be populated by homeless couples or individuals approached by the city’s Streets-to-Homes outreach program, with priority given to the chronically homeless or those deemed at higher risk to COVID-19 infection.

Meanwhile, the city saw a big jump in coronavirus fatalities overnight, jumping 49 to 347 since Tuesday.

There were 232 new COVID-19 infections recorded in the city, putting the total number of infections to 5,360.

Hospitalized patients rose to 354, 35 more than the city’s Tuesday update, and 111 are currently receiving intensive care.

The number of recovered cases now sits at 3,153.
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume





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