Posted May 10, 2021
Members of ACORN say that apartments within new construction projects in Toronto are simply not affordable and are urging city councillors to require developers to make them so.
They’re calling on the city to create Inclusionary Zoning that ensures 20 to 30 per cent of new apartment units be deemed affordable. The city is currently developing a policy that would require five to 10 per cent of new units to be affordable.
The organization that advocates for renters’ rights staged a rally on Eastdale Avenue Saturday, April 17, in front of a rental apartment building. Beside it, property owner Preston Group, is building a pair of buildings — one to be 35 storeys tall, the other seven.
Without Inclusionary Zoning measures in place, none of the nearly 500 units within those two buildings are required to be deemed affordable, making them out of reach of low-moderate income earning families, the organization says.
“This event is to highlight the need for Inclusionary Zoning because when given the opportunity to build without affordable housing developers take that,” said ACORN member Ryan Murdoch.
He said at the moment, until council passes, the Inclusionary Zoning bylaw, the city negotiates with developers on a case-by-case basis to include affordable housing.
“It needs to be enforced by the city, not negotiated on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
Fellow ACORN member and nearby resident of the Eastdale development Kelly Lalande said many of the rental buildings in the neighbourhood have high vacancy rates already because of high rental prices. Building more overpriced apartments won’t help the city’s housing crisis, she said.
“We’re just asking for 20 to 30 per cent affordability in these buildings that are going up, because they’re not affordable,” she said. “We need affordability in these apartments.”
The city states only two per cent of homes built or approved in the last five years are considered “affordable.” Affordable refers to rental prices at or below average market rents.
In 2020, these were the maximum prices to be deemed affordable:
• Bachelor unit: $1,148
• One-bedroom unit: $1,374
• Two-bedroom unit: $1,591
• Three-bedroom unit: $1,759
For information on the city’s planned policy, visit www.toronto.ca/inclusionary-zoning-overview.
For information on ACORN’s campaign, visit acorncanada.org/take-action/city-toronto-needs-strong-inclusionary-zoning.
Article by Dominik Kurek for Toronto.com