ACORN to Sidewalk Toronto: Give us REAL affordable housing!

Google’s intended development in downtown Toronto has been causing concern for ACORN members since we first heard that Sidewalk Labs is planning to build a tech community at Quayside.

As Toronto renters, we continue to feel the effects of the city’s housing affordability crisis. It is a necessity that any development in the city includes deeply affordable housing. Since 1990, rents have more than doubled, and they have risen by over one third in the past decade. We waited to hear whether the tech giant would make any real commitment to providing the affordable housing necessary to make the Quayside development an inclusive community.

This week, we were deeply disappointed when Sidewalk Toronto released further plans, revealing an inadequate pledge to create 20% affordable rentals. Even worse, the definition of affordable housing that is being used will not achieve housing that is affordable to low-income tenants, who badly need a truly affordable option in a city that is pricing them out.

Affordability is being defined as below Toronto’s average market rent, reported by CMHC -- but at over $1,400 for a two-bedroom unit, market rent is not affordable!

We also want to know how the affordable housing that is being promised is being subsidized. The Sidewalk development is being built on land valued at upwards of $600 million. Taxpayers deserve real affordable housing, where rents are based on income and ability to pay rather than market rents, which continue to skyrocket. The city is already pricing out tenants, we don’t need another development that marginalizes the low-income people that work and have build a life in our city.

ACORN members demand that a real definition of affordable housing is used, and call for 30 - 40 per cent of the development to be affordable rentals, with deep affordability included.