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What is social housing?

The social housing world can be confusing – even for people who have lived or worked in it for years. Here’s a quick guide to Toronto’s social housing. Most Ontario municipalities have similar types of social housing.

Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) is North America’s second largest social housing provider, comprised of 58,500 units in 350 buildings – home to 164,000 people. TCHC is a business corporation whose sole shareholder is the City of Toronto. About 45% of TCHC’s revenue comes from the City of Toronto. The rest comes from tenants and non-rental income.

Private non-profit housing is owned and managed by independent community groups, such as faith groups, ethnic groups, service clubs, seniors’ advocates and community agencies. In Toronto, there are almost 250 non-profit organizations, funded by their tenants, the federal government and the City of Toronto.

Supportive housing is non-profit housing designed for people who need support to live in the community, because they have a physical, mental or developmental disability, have been homeless, or are fleeing abuse. Supportive housing is funded by the provincial Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care or the Ministry for Community and Social Services.

Housing co-operatives are owned by their residents. Co-op members do not own their unit or build personal equity; they are voting members of a non-profit co-operative corporation. In Toronto, there are over 160 housing co-ops, funded by their residents, and by the federal and municipal government.

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