This Demonstrations project shows how partnerships can improve affordable housing outcomes for vulnerable, low-income members of society.
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), CAPREIT (an affordable housing provider) and partners used an innovative partnership to revitalize Toronto’s San Romanoway complex.
The public-private-non-profit nature of this partnership reduced the risk for the affordable housing provider, allowing for a better outcome.
Key Findings / Key Goals
Showcases the effectiveness of private-public partnerships in addressing the environmental and social concerns facing aging affordable housing infrastructure
Responds directly to both affordable housing provider priorities and tenant interests in order to build a partnership.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Improving buildings and social well-being: a tough balancing act
Most private affordable housing providers want to improve quality of life for their residents. However, they find it hard to address building problems and social issues all at once. There are very few examples showing the successful use of comprehensive approaches.
This project will demonstrate a proven model for revitalizing aging, privately owned affordable housing. It’s based on the successful San Romanoway Revival project in the Jane-Finch community in Toronto. The San Romanoway affordable housing complex is made up of 3 privately owned high-rise towers. The complex is home to around 3,000 residents, with many from vulnerable and low-income backgrounds.
Better outcomes through innovative partnerships
The TRCA, CAPREIT, the City of Toronto and local community groups all worked together on San Romanoway’s revitalization. The association of these organizations was a radical partnership between the private, public and non-profit sectors. They tackled key elements of a Socio-Economic Framework, focusing on:
- skills training
- income opportunities
- economic benefits
- community engagement
- health and well-being
Having a diverse group of organizations participate in project design, funding, and maintenance reduced the risk to the affordable housing provider.
Benefits for residents and the community
The San Romanoway complex saw a radical transformation involving:
- indoor and outdoor retrofits to improve building performance
- formal skills training, income opportunities and supports for residents
- 47% of residents landed employment or increased their income
- 91% of residents saved money on groceries
- neighbourhood improvement projects to enhance accessibility
- capacity building for on-site property managers, residents and local groups to ensure long-term project sustainability
The project led to environmental performance and socio-economic benefits for the residents and the community. All thanks to the affordable housing partnership that made it happen.
An encouraging example for affordable housing providers
Most private affordable housing providers would love to implement programs and retrofits that directly improve residents’ quality of life. Too often, though, they’re overwhelmed dealing with other priorities, many of which are invisible to residents (unsafe elevators, aging structures, etc.).
There are interesting examples of retrofits to improve building performance, and some other examples of successful social supports. However, there are very few examples of privately owned affordable housing projects that have successfully combined both in a comprehensive approach.
This project demonstrates how partnerships with the non-profit and public sectors can offer innovative solutions to affordable housing providers. In doing so, it will encourage affordable housing providers to consider more comprehensive projects and programs.
Project Team: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Location: Toronto, ON
Project Collaborators / Partners:
City of Toronto
Residential Properties Management Services Inc.
Get More Information:
Search CMHC’s Housing Knowledge Centre for more information and updates about this demonstration.
Learn about the socio-economic impacts of the SNAP (Sustainable Neighborhood Action Program)
Discover the video! (in english only).
See how you can apply for a Demonstrations Initiative grant.