Leslie O’Reilly sits in front of a computer, looking at a spreadsheet that will impact the lives of at least 200 Torontonians.
The housing consultant, who works for the city’s shelter, support and housing administration, conducted a “random draw” this week along with representatives from Toronto Community Housing, to allocate 75 affordable units to individuals and families in the city.
TCH received 3,779 expressions of interest from households and individuals and a total of 2,773 of the applications were complete and eligible.
The one, two and three bedroom-units in the draw — 21 of which cater to seniors — will be available at 110 River St., a 29-storey TCH building set for occupancy in February in the redeveloped Regent Park neighbourhood.
There are 96,828 households with active applications for social housing according to information from the city of Toronto collected from a central waiting list. That includes 33,728 applications for seniors.
TCH put a wide call out to the public for expressions of interests in the units, and applications were accepted from Sept. 4 to Oct. 3.
Then, the TCH created an Excel document for each of four categories — 1 bedroom, (seniors) 2 bedroom, (seniors) 2 bedroom (mix of tenants of all ages) and 3 bedroom (mix of tenants) and a random number generator assigned a number to each application, explains O’Reilly, who conducted the videotaped draw at a TCH satellite office on Jarvis St.
The database was later sorted smallest number to largest to create an “offer list” of eligible occupants for the units. The applicant with the smallest number will be offered the first unit.
And when it was all over, at least 200 Torontonians were set to get some good news soon that they’re eligible to secure an affordable place to live in the city.
The monthly rent — utilities included — will be $962 for a one bedroom, $1,141 for two bedrooms and three bedrooms are $1,358.
These units are not subsidized, unlike most TCH units — 90 per cent of which are subsidized/rent-geared-to-income. The agency, which provides housing for 60,000 low and moderate-income households, also has about 5,000 market and 1,000 affordable units.
To qualify as affordable, the rents don’t exceed 80 per cent of the average market rent established by the city of Toronto and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
In Toronto, the average monthly market rate for a one-bedroom apartment is close to $2,000.
The winners of the draw aren’t necessarily guaranteed a unit, said Sanja Arpadzic, a TCH manager for operational initiatives, program services and asset management. They must first pass screening that includes income testing, credit card checks, and landlord references.
In order to be eligible to live in the River St. units, the annual before-tax income of all members in the household can’t exceed four times the annual rent of the unit applied for.
“Some people are going to be very excited when we contact them,” Arpadzic said in an interview after the draw at her Jarvis St. office Wednesday.
Members of her staff will now be reaching out to the winners by email and telephone.
The winners will have to reply soon. If TCH doesn’t hear from them in a few days after the emails and calls go out, the agency will reach out to the next eligible person on the randomized list.
Those who refuse a unit have their name removed from the list for 110 River St., which stays in place for two years.
“These 75 units provide an opportunity for families and seniors to access clean, safe affordable housing downtown in Regent Park, a community that is being revitalized into a vibrant, mixed-income, mixed-use neighbourhood,” said TCH spokesperson Bruce Malloch.
In early March there was a similar draw for 59 affordable units spread among two TCH housing buildings — one at 50 Regent Park Blvd., the other at 21 Tubman Ave.
The names of the winners aren’t released publicly.
Donovan Vincent is a housing reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @donovanvincent