While the issue is not new, progress has been slow on improving the quantity and delivery rate of affordable housing in the City of Toronto. The challenge is complex, with a range of housing needs currently going unmet. Creative and meaningful actions are urgently required on the part of all stakeholders. Local real estate developers have a role to play in addressing these challenges, but there is no central and dedicated forum for sharing information and collaborating on innovative solutions.
In May 2022, ULI Toronto convened the ULI Toronto Affordable Housing Leadership Council to work together to find practical solutions to help deliver more affordable housing, faster. The Council membership will serve a two-year term and is made up of action-oriented private sector developers who have experience or interest in delivering more affordable rental housing in the City of Toronto faster.
This is the first Product Council created by ULI Toronto and will contribute to ULI’s global mission to shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.
The development eco-system in Toronto has begun ramping up capacity to deliver affordable housing. Market demand and political will are in strong alignment, with policy tools and financing vehicles being advanced. Notwithstanding, the development climate is not optimized and barriers to creating supply persist – in a market that is experiencing historically high-cost escalation.
OBJECTIVE & PURPOSE
The ULI Toronto Affordable Housing Leadership Council is a forum for local real estate developers to share information, build knowledge and collectively problem-solve challenges to building more affordable housing faster.
The initial scope of the group’s focus will be on the City of Toronto and on solutions for affordable rental housing (as defined by the City of Toronto’s new income-based definition).
The group will focus on identifying barriers, testing new ideas, sharing concepts, and facilitating dialogue with other key stakeholders and government partners.
The objective of the group is not to find one magic solution to ‘solve’ the problem, but rather to advance a number of solutions that can cumulatively move the needle on the critical shortage of affordable housing in Toronto.
The Council will assess opportunities and solutions with an inclusion, equity and diversity lens.
It is the express intention for the Council to share the findings and potential solutions widely and transparently to support the development eco-system as a whole to increase its capacity to deliver.
The Council will undertake a series of activities agreed on by members to support the objective, including, but not limited to:
- Sharing experiences, best practices, and resources to help refine delivery models for the industry as a whole
- Highlighting and promoting successful projects and models
- Improving the economics of affordable housing by exploring opportunities to reduce construction and operating costs
- Identifying opportunities to improve or improve access to incentives and other programs at all levels of government
- Looking at innovative financing strategies or developing/better leveraging existing financing resources
- Engaging external partners and stakeholders to share learnings and ideas for building more affordable housing, faster
- Engaging with other ULI Councils to share learnings including those in the US
Derek Goring, EVP, Development, Northcrest Developments
Tsering Yangki, Head, Real Estate Finance and Development, Dream
Michelle Ackerman, Consultant, Infrastructure & Real Estate Development, Kilmer
Andrea DelZotto, Director, Tridel Group of Companies
Andrew Duncan, Chief Investment Officer, RioCan REIT
Renee Gomes, SVP, Development, DiamondCorp
Jenn Green, Director, Affordable Housing & CSR, Greenwin / Verdiroc
Alexandra Khazzam, Director, Hines
Robert Sedore, Director, Asset Management, Tricon Residential
Jason Marks, Partner, Markee Developments
Heela Omarkhail, Vice President, Social Impact, Daniels Corporation
Laurie Payne, EVP Development, Osmington Gerofsky Development Corp (OGDC)
Jordana Ross, Director, Development, Oxford Properties Group
Liza Stiff, Vice President, Innovation and Design, TAS
Joe Svec, Vice-President, Development & Planning, Choice Properties
Jeff Thomas, Group Head, Development, KingSett Capital