Reena supportive housing Forest Hill

A 20-storey Reena supportive housing project announced for Forest Hill nabe

In response to the escalating demand for affordable housing in Toronto, the Government of Canada has unveiled a substantial investment of nearly $44 million in a Reena Foundation project that will create 106 affordable homes to be located in the neighbourhood of Forest Hill.

At the heart of this initiative is the Frankfort Family Reena Residence, a 20-storey building set to rise at 165 Elm Ridge Drive. This facility is poised to deliver 106 affordable housing units tailored to the needs of individuals and families requiring supportive, accessible, and cost-effective housing. The tenant demographic is diverse, encompassing individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism, brain injury, down syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder, as well as adults with physical disabilities and mental health challenges, along with seniors facing cognitive decline.

Winter 2024 is the projected completion date for the Frankfort Family Reena Residence project.

“I’m very proud of this ground-breaking initiative for an affordable, supportive housing development here in the heart of Eglinton-Lawrence, and I can’t wait to welcome the 106 new residents to our community,” said Mike Colle, deputy mayor and city councillor for the neighbourhood. “I’m looking forward to continuing our work with Reena Inc., our dedicated housing operator and trusted partner. Together, we will ensure that this project will bring a positive change, not only to provide welcoming homes for people with disabilities but for our whole community and to serve as a model for all of Toronto.”

Reena project
Architect’s Rendering of the Reena project at 155-165 Elm Ridge Dr. (photo: Reena.org)

Funding for this transformative initiative comprises $43.9 million from the Projects Stream of the third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). Additional financial support comes from the City of Toronto, contributing $8.1 million, and the Reena Foundation and Batay Reena, jointly pledging $15 million each.

“To support our vulnerable communities, we need sustained, consistent funding,” said Marco Mendicino, Member of Parliament for the Eglinton—Lawrence area. “We are doing just that through the Rapid Housing Initiative to help Canadians access safe, affordable housing that meets their needs, while also creating jobs for the local economy, here in Toronto. Today’s announcement is another step towards creating more equitable and affordable housing for all.”

The Rapid Housing Initiative is strategically designed to expedite the construction of new housing and the acquisition of existing buildings for rehabilitation or conversion into permanent affordable housing units. The additional funding for the third round of RHI will be distributed through two streams: $1 billion through the Projects Stream and $500 million towards the Cities Stream.

“The Frankfort Family Reena Residence is Reena’s most ambitious residential project in its 50-year history,” said Bryan Keshen, CEO, Reena. “The project offers a unique Intentional Community housing model that combines independence, affordability and accessibility with 24/7 resources, creating a life-changing opportunity for vulnerable individuals, including those with developmental disabilities.”

This collaborative endeavor aims to address the pressing need for affordable and supportive housing, contributing to a more equitable and inclusive future for residents of Toronto.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO