Strachan House new affordable housing update – December 2021

Strachan House has been a vital community institution supporting people experiencing chronic homelessness since 1996.

Operated by the charity Homes First and located in a former warehouse owned by the City of Toronto on Wellington Street at Strachan Avenue, it provides 83 much-needed units of long-term supportive and affordable housing, and 5 shelter beds. The Strachan House model serves the "hardest to house" who face barriers accessing conventional housing and shelter programs.

Residents receive meals on site and are supported by 24-hour staffing and case management, in-house personal support workers, life skills workers, and staff with expertise in addressing hoarding. Strachan House also has partnerships with a variety of community agencies to provide on-site supports for those who may face barriers in accessing off-site supports.

Expanding Strachan House

I have been working closely in recent years with Homes First and City of Toronto staff to advance plans for an expansion of Strachan House, creating new affordable housing units and providing additional services to residents with a continued focus on vulnerable adults and seniors with complex needs. One goal is to make it easier for residents of Strachan House to age in place as their needs for care and support change.

Homes First has received seed funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to carry out pre-development activities and they are in the process of selecting an architect to prepare concept design drawings. A City-initiated process to update the zoning by-law and Official Plan in support of this project, including neighbourhood engagement, is expected in early 2022.

Supporting Residents During Construction

Strachan House will temporarily relocate to a hotel that has been leased by the City of Toronto for Homes First. Unfortunately, important issues have recently become apparent that would require immediate major disruptive repairs to aging building infrastructure including its sewer pipes. Plans have been made so that all of the current residents and on-site supports can move together to the new hotel in early January 2022. Some Strachan House residents are also expected to accept offers of housing or shelter at other available locations based on their needs and preferences.

This temporary relocation, although it is happening sooner than originally anticipated, is also necessary to undertake construction and expand the amount of affordable housing at Strachan House. The City of Toronto and Homes First are accelerating work to design and build the new affordable housing so we can welcome the residents back and open up the new affordable housing units as soon as possible.

I am looking forward to sharing more details on the expansion of Strachan House, the new affordable and supportive units, and expanded on-site supports in the new year.