Toronto is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. As a result, waitlists for affordable housing are very long. Neither City Council nor a single Councillor has the ability or authority to expedite the waiting period for housing or transfers or move someone to the top of the list. However, there are steps you can take to increase the likelihood of a spot opening up sooner such as:
- Do not limit your choices to 1 bedroom, bachelor apartments often are available much sooner than one bedroom.
- Widen your selection of buildings – finding RGI or affordable housing in the core of the city is often a longer process than finding housing on the outskirts of the city.
- Visit this link to see if you qualify for special priority statuses
- If you are 59 years of age or older, do not forget to add seniors' buildings to your housing choices.
Special Priority Status
The selection of applicants from the waiting list is chronological - when a housing provider has a vacancy, they contact the next applicant on their waiting list. The exception to the first-come, first-served waiting list system is for Special Priority applicants who are housed on a priority basis.
Apply for a Transfer
Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) is making changes to improve our priority transfer process to be more responsive to tenants' needs. Guided by the Toronto Ombudsman's recommendations, and after receiving valuable feedback through consultations with tenants, employees, stakeholders and outside agencies, TCHC has put in place a new Crisis priority category, effective July 1, 2018. Learn more about transfer categories and how to apply for a transfer.
Subsidized, Market or Affordable Rent
Rent-geared-to-income is sometimes referred to as subsidized rent or housing. About 89 percent of Toronto Community Housing tenants pay rent-geared-to-income. Rent-geared-to-income is about 30 percent of your gross income. There is a waiting list for this type of housing, managed by the City of Toronto. If you are interested in applying for rent-geared-to-income, you must apply through to Rent-Geared-to-Income Subsidy program at the City of Toronto.
There are multiple housing help agencies that are dedicated to helping individuals find and keep affordable housing and avoid eviction:
Housing Help Agencies
The Housing Help Association of Ontario (HHAO) is a provincial association of community-based, not-for-profit organizations delivering the spectrum of free Housing Help services that prevent and reduce homelessness. Find a Housing Help agency and learn more about their services.
If you are experiencing issues with private property misuse or property standards, including lack of maintenance, contact 311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more community-Based services, please call 211.
Housing Stabilization Fund
The Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) is intended to prevent homelessness by meeting the emergency housing needs of Toronto residents who receive financial assistance from Ontario Works (OW) and income support from Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) so that they are able to stabilize their housing situation. Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) is committed to administering this fund in a timely, transparent and consistent manner that is responsive to client circumstances. Please note that reimbursements cannot be issued for items already paid for prior to the request for HSF. Individuals that are on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program and have emergency housing needs, may be eligible for the Housing Stabilization Fund.
Toronto Rent Bank
Individuals who are in arrears, facing eviction or in need of first and last months' rent may be eligible for a loan from the Toronto Rent Bank which provides a loan of up to two months' rent.
More Food Banks
If you require a referral to a food bank near you, call the Daily Bread at 416-203-0050. The Red Cross offers delivery services if you are unable to access a food bank due to a temporary or permanent disability.
Calling 211 will connect you with staff that can provide a more extensive list of services.
Toronto Drop-In Network
The Toronto Drop-In Network (TDIN) is an active coalition of over 50 drop-in centres throughout the City of Toronto that works with people who are homeless, marginally housed or socially isolated, to provide social services and supports.
Streets to Homes (S2H) Program
Streets to Homes has a pool of workers helping individuals who are sleeping outside or street-involved find a safe place to rest, permanent housing, or find washrooms, showers, laundry, and health care services. The Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Center is available to call 24 hours a day at 416-392-0090
Members of the general public who are concerned about someone they see on the street should call 311 or, in the case of emergency, 911.
Anyone who needs emergency shelter should call 311 or Central Intake at 416-338-4766 or toll-free at 1-877-338-3398.
The Shelter, Support & Housing Administration Division (SSHA) ensures that homeless people and people at risk of homelessness have a range of shelter and affordable housing options and provides temporary shelter and support for homeless individuals and families while assisting them to achieve permanent housing solutions.
Make a Complaint About Housing & Homelessness Services
How to make a complaint about housing and homelessness services directly delivered or funded by the City:
- Step 1: Speak to your service provider (agency, housing provider, shelter, etc.) directly
- Step 2: If you are not satisfied with the outcome or how your complaint was handled, contact Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) by completing this complaint form. We will follow up with you after receiving your complaint.
If you are experiencing issues with private property misuse or property standards, including lack of maintenance, contact 311.
TCHC's Central Sherbourne Information
Lorna Davis, TCHC Operating Unit Manager for Central Sherbourne
155 Sherbourne St
Maxwell Meighen Centre
135 Sherbourne St, Toronto, ON M5A 2R5
Homes First Society
90 Shuter St, Toronto, ON M5B 2K6
St. Simon's Shelter
525 Bloor St E, Toronto, ON M4W 1J1