Social Housing in the Neighbourhood

We have compiled a listing of the main social housing units in the area.  Overall there are approximately 2000 geared to income units operated by social agencies in the Moss Park/Cabbagetown South Neighbourhood.  There are also over 800 hostel/shelter beds in the neighbourhood,   This does not include the number of privately managed rooming houses and other private rental accommodation in the area.  There are approximately  750 houses on our residential side streets of which we would estimate at least 10 percent are rental properties.  If we take in Shuter, Sherbourne, Parliament Streets the ratio of owner occupied/ market rent housing (less than 20%) to geared to income (80%). 

In 2009 City Council adopted Housing Opportunities Toronto which recognized the need to create housing opportunites in all City Wards and the need to revitalize neighbourhoods. For more information click this link .


In the new Regent Park, the ratio of units will be 65%market rate and 35% geared to income. We are not sure what the ratio of owner occupied units to market rate rental units will be. We have recenly been advised that the ratio of owner occupied condos versus units purchased for rental investment properties is much lower in the new Regent Park than other condo development areas such as Concord Place.

Toronto Community Housing has recently announced a new president Gene Jones Jr. will be taking over the helm on June 18th.  Mr Jones has three decades of experience leading housing agencies in Indianapolis, Kansas City and San Francisco.

Housing First has become a new trend in dealing with issures around the homeless, especialy those dealing with mental health issues and drug and alcohol dependancy.  Although this may be a welcome change to hostels we would still strongly advocate for smaller well managed and well distributed social and transitional housing through out the city.  For information on Housing FIrst see this link. 

The City of Calgary Alberta has recently embarked on several new policies to deal with homelessness.  For more information on what they are doing click this link.  

Obviously the number of geared to income units in the area is very high in this area and new development and redevelopment in the area needs to address this unbalance. Here is a breakdown of social housing in the area. This does not take in the Regent Park area but concentrates on housing in and around our northern, western and southern boundaries. If Regent Park is factored in on our eastern boundary, the number of geared to income units might well be double.

The Dan Harrison Complex at 251 Sherbourne street is geared to income housing comprising of several heritage homes along Sherbourne and a midrise apartment complex behind facing Oskenonton lane. The complex consists of  22 rooms * 174 bachelor * 7 bachelor wheelchair * 118 one bdrm * 6 one bdrm wheelchair * 21 two bdrm * 21 three bdrm * 7 four bdrm units.

The William Dennison Apartments at 310 Dundas Street East is a geared to income building for seniors and adults over 50 years old.  The complex consists of a High Rise and renovated house with 132 bachelor alcove units, 28 one bdrm and 6 one bdrm handicap accessible units. 

All Saints Church Homes for Tommorrow Society at 319 Dundas Street East is geared to income housing for single adults consisting of 60 bachelor units.

Dave Brown/Reva Jewel Rooming Houses 382-388 Dundas Street East.  The first phase of the renovations at 382 Dundas Street East are now complete with 14 rooms for Aboriginal Youth.  A total of 52 rooms are proposed.

Mainstay Housing Dundas and Oskenonton Laneway.  Three houses converted into bachelor units for single men and women with mental health and addiction issues.

Toronto Housing Authority at 155 Sherbourne Street is geared to income housing consisting of  121 bachelor units and 180 one bedroom units for singles and couples.

Moss Park Apartments, 275 Shuter Street, consists of three large apartment buildings housing 901 rent geared to income units consisting of 195 bachelor, 467 one bedroom,  2 one bedroom wheelchair, 194 two bedroom, 1 two bedroom wheelchair, 33 three bedroom and 12 four bedroom units.

St. Jude Community Homes at 431 Dundas Street East provides 28 bachelor and 9 one bedroom units for single adults with a history of severe and persistent mental illness who require support services.

St Jude Community Homes at Milan and Coatsworth streets, consists of 31 bachelor units for single adults with a history of severe and persistent mental illness who require support services. 

295 - 299 Ontario Street Toronto Housing Authority.  9 units in three triplexes consisting of 6 one bedroom and 3 two bedroom units.

YSM Genesis Place 280 Gerrard Street East. 26 geared to income units consisting of 7 bachelor, 14 one bedroom and 5 two bedroom units.

Matt Talbot House ll, 262 Gerrard Street East, St. Michael's Halfway Homes for Addiction Survivors 55 and up, consisting of 23 rooms.

Bessie Luffman Apartments 320 Seaton Street.  25 three bedroom geared to income units for families.

Robertson House 291 Sherbourne Street.  Robertson House helps pregnant women and women with children who are homeless and in need. Robertson House has 37 rooms with shared bathrooms.

Jessie's Center Non-Profit Homes Corp,  Parliament and Queen. 20 geared to income units with  8 two bedroom, 12 three bedroom units. 

Winchester Square 55 Bleeker Street. Seniors Housing 50 plus. 260 geared to income units,  195 bachelors and 61 one bedroom units.

Nishnawbe Homes at 425 Dundas Street East is currently constructing 32 units which we believe will all be geared to income rental units.

Maxwell Mieghan Hostel for Men.135 Sherbourne Street. 260 beds

Dixon Hall,  Hostel for Men. George Street.  55 beds.

Seaton House, Hostel for Men. George Street. 580 beds.  


 The two major hostels in the area Seaton House and Maxwell Meighan serve over  800 homeless men.  Maxwell Meighan has aproximatley 260 beds while the large Seaton House has 580 beds.  Street Haven and Nellies also offer hostel beds and temporary housing for women in need.  For security reasons facilities housing women and children fleeing abusive situations do not publish addresses and locations in the neighbourhood.  There are many other agencies providing emergency shelters in the cities east end.

The large male hostels were built in the neighbouhood some 50 years ago to combat the growing skid rows which grew in the downtown east end in the 1950's and 60's.  There was a slow decline of the once grand houses of Jarvis, Sherbourne and the side streets between such as Pembroke and George Streets into a rooming houses, flop houses and an unhealthy street culture.  The decline of the neighbourhod greatly affected property values and as a result the cheap cost of land in the area likely drew social and low income housing providers and social services to the area.

This concentration of hostels, services and social housing in the neighbourhood and the lack of an upward spiral to move the homeless and underhoused into a better social and econcomic direction has had a negative impact on the neighbouhoods surrounding the hostels.  There are many housing providers that started out as transitional housing but with the lack of affordable housing options many transitional offerings have become permanent housing.

There have been proposals put forth to redevelop hostels like  Seaton House to create a mix of hostel beds with supportive housing, geared to income and market rent housing complexes.  This might work if there a willingness for other areas to take on such a mixed complex.  Concentrating the number of hostel beds in one neighbouhood like Moss Park while exempting entire other areas of the city from hostels and social housing of course is not a reasonable course.   Spreading out hostels and supportive housing  in manageable numbers is a more reasonable approach. 

Seaton House has begun an informal round of discussions regarding potential changes in the footprint and mix of transtional housing and hostel beds at the George Street location.  They recently asked members of the Community Police Liason Committee at 51 division for their input by answering the following questions.  The number of hostel beds in our immediate area impacts on our community and our role as members of the CPLC is important and making our voices heard.  You may emial your responses to the emails below. (We include our email so we too can get an idea of how the community feels about Seaton House Hostel and Maxwell Meighan Hostel.)


Questions for Discussion:
1. What is your role as the 51 Division CPLC and have you had any relationship with Seaton
2. What challenges do you see or have you heard about from the neighbourhood regarding
George Street between Dundas and Gerrard?
3. How could a new facility contribute to a safer local community?
4. Do you have any recommendations for the design of a new facility?
5. Are there any 'best practices' you would like to see implemented?
please cut and paste the two email addressed below and send  your responses to


Cooperative Housing

Under Construction.

 Housing cooperatives fall into two general tenure categories: non-ownership (referred to as non-equity or continuing) and ownership (referred to as equity or strata). In non-equity cooperatives, occupancy rights are sometimes granted subject to an occupancy agreement, which is similar to a lease.   In equity cooperatives, occupancy rights are sometimes granted by way of the purchase agreements and legal instruments registered on the title.  The famous Dakota building in New York City is a good example of an equity cooperative.   

Currently there are no non equity co-ops in the Cabbagetown South area.  There are however co-ops on George Street, Ontario north of Carlton, Shuter east of Parliament as well as the St Lawrence neighbourhood and Church and Jarvis Streets.  Co-operative housing is often sited as a good housing alternative especially for single working people.  Those who work in traditionally low paying jobs such as retail or service industry have very few options in expensive urban centers.  As property prices continue to escalate the ability for many low wage earners to afford a house or a condo becomes increasingly difficult.  The ability for a single person to afford market rent apartments is also beyond many.  It is our understanding that the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation continues to fund co-operative housing and many of the housing units built for the Pan AM games in the West Donlands will covert to mpm equity co-ops when the games are over.   

There have also been some Toronto Social Housing Projects converted to non equity co-op housing such as the Alexandra Park Housing Complex at Dundas and Bathurst area.

Alexandra Park is a 410 unit housing project in downtown Toronto. The project was built in 1968, and includes 140 apartments in two medium rise apartment buildings and 270 townhouses. Many people who live in the project have low incomes.

Now called the Atkinson Co-op additional information is availalble here. .

Is the conversion of social housing units into co-ops a viable solution for the Dan Harrison Complex or Moss Park?   The Dan Harrison complex built approximately at the same time as Alexandra Park has a similar range of housing units.  Alexandra Park also have similar problems and issues as Dan Harrison before converting to a co-operative.  According to the staff at Councilor Adam Vaughan's office there has been considerable inprovement in the quality of life for the co-op tennants and the neighbourhod at large.  Although the Atkinson Co-op is still the property of the Toronto Housing Authority the new self management model has proven to be a success.  For a recent city review of the co-op conversion see the attached link. 

Here is a brief explanation on co-ops. 

Housing co‑operatives provide not-for-profit housing for their members.

The members do not own equity in their housing. If they move, their home is returned to the co‑op, to be offered to another individual or family who needs an affordable home.

Some co‑op households pay a reduced monthly rent (housing charge) geared to their income. Government funds cover the difference between this payment and the co‑op’s full charge. Other households pay the full monthly charge based on cost.

Because co‑ops charge their members only enough to cover costs, repairs, and reserves, they can offer housing that is much more affordable than average private sector rental costs.

Co‑op housing also offers security. Co‑ops are controlled by their members who have a vote in decisions about their housing. There is no outside landlord.  In many cases as tenants age and retire rent is geared down to reflect reduced pension income. 

Read On!  Click for Carlton Street or Gerrard Street, or Dundas Street or Sherbourne Street or Parliament Street or The Laneways or Residential Side Streets  or New Development Survey or Neighbourhood Flow  or Greenspace and Public Art 

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