St. Jude Community Homes building affordable housing in Toronto

Ontario Construction News staff writer

In a strategic move to address the city’s housing challenges, St. Jude Community Homes (SJCH) has successfully purchased a residential building at 1845 Gerrard St. E. through the City of Toronto’s Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA) program. The not-for-profit housing and support services provider was awarded a $4 million grant in response to the City’s 2022 call for applications, utilizing MURA funds to purchase the building in September 2023.

“I am thrilled that St. Jude Community Homes has acquired this building, and the people who live here can rest knowing that their homes are protected,” said Mayor Olivia Chow. In her 2024 budget, Mayor Chow has committed to expanding the MURA program to $100 million over three years, further emphasizing the city’s dedication to creating and preserving affordable housing.

The acquisition, made possible by the MURA program, has a significant impact on preventing potential evictions and loss of support for residents. The newly acquired building, boasting 20 homes, has become a cornerstone for SJCH’s independent living program, offering permanent, safe, and affordable housing with essential support services. Rents will be capped at a maximum average of 80 percent of the Average Market Rent, as reported annually by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, ensuring accessibility to a wide range of residents. These homes are safeguarded as affordable housing for at least 99 years.

low cost housing torontoThe MURA program, integral to the city’s strategy to approve 65,000 new rent-controlled homes by 2030, including 6,500 rent-geared-to-income (RGI) homes and 18,000 supportive homes, provides funding to not-for-profit housing providers. Since its launch in 2021, MURA has allocated $55.5 million to support more than 300 permanently affordable homes in various Toronto neighborhoods.

Councillor Gord Perks, chair of the Planning and Housing Committee, highlighted the importance of MURA in addressing the housing crisis. “By acquiring and preserving existing affordable rental buildings, we are ensuring that communities across Toronto can be more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable for years to come.”

Councillor Brad Bradford, vice chair of the planning and housing committee noted the MURA program is a common-sense approach to maintaining Toronto as a city where everyone can afford to live.

“As we went from renter to owner, a collective sigh of relief was felt as worry and anxieties from the uncertainties of knowing the landlord wanted to sell the 20-unit building faded,” said Wayne March, board director, SJCH.

The MURA program supports the not-for-profit housing sector, safeguarding existing rental properties, creating permanently affordable housing, and enhancing housing stability for Toronto residents. For more information about the MURA program, interested parties can visit the city’s website.


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