March 31, 2021

Councillor Layton
and Kensington Market Community Land Trust
partner to buy building where tenants faced eviction

On April 7, City Council will be considering a request from Councillor Layton to allocate $3 million to the Kensington Market Community Land Trust to assist in the acquisition of a building to protect and create new affordable housing at 54-56 Kensington Avenue in Toronto.

This motion presents such an opportunity to help a land trust acquire a property in Kensington Market and maintain its existing 12 residential units and 5 retails units as affordable rental housing and community approved retail space for the next 99 years. The building’s tenants have already been faced with the threat of renoviction, and protecting their homes is urgent.

In Toronto’s current real estate market, affordable multi-unit rental buildings are rapidly being converted into expensive rentals, or demolished to make way for new condominium development. There is a critical need to permanently protect the affordability of existing rental housing across the city, and partnerships with the non-profit housing sector provide a viable pathway towards doing so.

This motion recommends that City Council provide $3,000,000 in funding to the Kensington Market Community Land Trust to acquire, renovate, and operate the property municipally known as 54-56 Kensington Avenue in Toronto, fully funded by Ward 11, University-Rosedale Section 37 funds with money provided by the various developments in the Ward, subject to the Kensington Market Community Land Trust successfully acquiring the property by no later than May 31, 2021.

“Two years ago, residents of this building had begun receiving illegal eviction notices. I knocked on doors with community members, and we helped to ensure those tenants were made aware of their rights and resisted the attempts of the landlord to make them move. Through hard work and determination, the Kensington Market Land Trust has put together a plan to buy this building and I am proud to support this project with funds to make sure these units stay affordable for the next century.”

Councillor Mike Layton, Ward 11

“This is the culmination of years of work. And it started with the tenants standing their ground. None of this would have been possible without the tenants understanding and defending their rights. What gentrification and real estate speculation is taking from us—housing security—we can take back as a community through the Land Trust.”

Dominique Russell, Co-Chair, Kensington Market Community Land Trust

Media Contact: Stephanie Nakitsas, Chief of Staff, Councillor – 647 876 0649