4040 Lawrence Ave E. selected for phase 3 of Housing Now: What this means for The Storefront

2021 has been the East Scarborough Storefront’s 20th year working in and with the Kingston-Galloway / Orton Park (KGO) community. Reflecting on how The Storefront might grow and change over the next 20 years has been a natural part of marking this milestone.

A glimpse of what the future could look like for East Scarborough Storefront follows a decision made at a City Council Meeting on November 9, 2021 to expand an affordable housing initiative called Housing Now.

The Storefront’s location at 4040 Lawrence Ave East has been approved as one of the sites for Phase 3 of the City’s Housing Now Initiative.

What will this mean for The Storefront?

This means that at least some of the city-owned land where The Storefront is located is slated for redevelopment in the next 2 – 3 years to include affordable housing units on the site.

It also means that The Storefront will likely need to temporarily relocate while construction is underway. There is a possibility that this redevelopment can eventually include new permanent space for The Storefront on our current site, and if that ceases to be an option, the City is committed to supporting us to find a new permanent space. The City’s News Release regarding this project recognizes that “East Scarborough Storefront has played an integral role in this community and the City will continue to work closely with this important organization to ensure the future development at 4040 Lawrence Ave. E. has a minimal impact on their operations.” 

What will this mean for the community?

We understand that this news will bring up a range of emotions in the community. The uncertainty and possibility of change that comes with this news affects all of us who feel connected to the Storefront building. As an organization, The Storefront supports the creation of more affordable housing in the neighbourhood; we also recognize that The Storefront is a crucial community asset with a continued role to play in the community.. 

We will work hard to ensure that, if and when The Storefront has to temporarily relocate, the community will still be able to access services and supports with as little disruption and inconvenience as possible.

We do not have many other details at this early stage. However, we do know that the City has expressed willingness to work with The Storefront. The official City council motion to proceed with Phase Three of Housing Now was passed with the following amendment: 

“That City Council request the Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services to work with the East Scarborough Storefront which currently occupies 4040 Lawrence Avenue East on reconvening the Community Design Initiative and implement local workforce development (East Scarborough Works), facilitate resident engagement in designing the new structure being built on 4040 Lawrence Avenue East.” 

We are hopeful about the opportunity to collaborate with the City on this project and we are advocating for a community-led process that centres the voices of KGO residents regarding what you want to see in the redevelopment of 4040 Lawrence Ave E.

How can I learn more?

We are committed to keeping residents and partners informed as new information becomes available. There will be opportunities in the coming months to learn more about this project, get involved in the process, and provide input. Stay tuned for an initial Storefront-led community meeting to ask questions and learn more in early 2022.

In the meantime: 

  • Storefront wants to hear from you: What questions do you have? What do you think is most important as we navigate this process as a community? 
  • Reach out to us: connect with any Storefront staff member, email us at info@thestorefront.org or call (416) 208-9889
  • Subscribe to KGO Updates community newsletter and follow Storefront @StorefrontKGO on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for notices of upcoming community meetings and ways to get involved in the process. 

More information about Housing Now:

The Housing Now Initiative was approved by Toronto City Council in January 2019 as a means of creating more affordable housing by developing new housing on City owned land/properties. City communications describe Housing Now as “a key component of the City’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan that is central to enabling the City to meet its target of approving 40,000 new affordable rental homes, including 18,000 supportive homes, by 2030.” Phase Three of the initiative, which Council approved in October 2021, increased the number of redevelopment sites from 17 to 22, including the addition of 4040 Lawrence Ave E. Housing Now Progress Report of Phase 3 can be accessed here.

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