Toronto announces plan for more than 200 new modular supportive housing units


The city of Toronto has announced plans to build up to 250 new modular supportive housing units in the city, the first 110 of which would be built on two city-owned sites and ready for occupancy by September.

Toronto Mayor John Tory made the announcement during the city's daily press briefing Wednesday afternoon, and he said the project is exceedingly important in order to provide stable, affordable housing and support services to individuals experiencing homelessness.

Modular housing is a quick and cost-effective way to house people due to the fact that it's prefabricated in a factory and then transported and assembled on-site.

"We know helping people with supportive housing is good for everyone and modular housing is a way to make that happen faster," Tory said in a statement. "The pandemic has heightened the need for supportive housing and I have asked City staff to move this project at an urgent pace."

Before the pandemic began, city staff were already preparing to bring forward a report to the March 23 Planning and Housing Committee meeting outlining the proposed implementation plan.

But since regular committee and council meetings have been cancelled and the need for supportive housing is more dire than ever, the city is looking to move forward with the project immediately. 

"Staff are recommending entering negotiations with Horizon North for the manufacturing, design and installation of up to 110 modular homes in two, three-storey developments – representing Phase I of the City’s modular housing pilot," notes a release from the city. 

"The terms of the proposed contract will be reviewed and considered by City Council at its April 30 meeting. A full request for proposal (RFP) will be issued in the summer of 2020 for the second phase of the pilot, representing an additional 140 modular supportive homes to be completed by April 2021."

While this is the first modular housing project in Toronto, similar approaches have been used in many other jurisdictions in North America. Horizon North, the company set to design and build the units, recently constructed a similar supportive housing facility in Vancouver.