What is subsidized housing?

Subsidized housing allows people to pay rent according to how much money they make.

Who can apply for subsidized housing?  

  • Families
  • Single people (16 years and older)
  • Seniors
  • People with disabilities who can live on their own without help, unless arranged with a non-profit organization

How do I know if I can apply?

Everyone in your house must be:

  • A Canadian citizen; or
  • A permanent resident, or someone applying for permanent resident status; or
  • A refugee, or someone applying to be a refugee; and
  • Someone who hasn’t owned a place for six or more months (depending on where you live) before your move-in date

How can I apply?

  1. Find out where your co-ordinated access centre is. These centres will give you the information you need to start choosing possible places that you might want to live in.
  2. Fill out a housing application form. You can get one from your access centre. The Rent-to-Geared Housing Application for Toronto can be found here.
  3. Check out the available housing listings at your access centre to choose which areas and apartments you might be interested in.

Please note that the City of Toronto is currently updating its online application portal, which will launch on April 6. During this time, you won't be able to submit an online application or update an existing application. However, housing offers based on your position on the waitlist will continue to be made between March 12, 2020 and April 6, 2020.

What kinds of places are available?

If you get into subsidized housing you may get your own room, an apartment or a townhouse. The places are run in different ways:

  • Cooperative housing is run by the people who live there. Co-ops get money from the government to have lower rent. Some co-ops are for certain people, like seniors, people with disabilities, or artist.
  • Non-profit housing is lead by community groups or non-profit organizations that can be private or government run.  
  • Local housing companies are run by a local government group that also looks after housing, social welfare and ambulance services.

How long will I have to wait?

The wait ranges from about:

  • 1 to 5 years for a bachelor
  • 7 to 10 years for a one-bedroom
  • 5 to 10 years for a two-bedroom
  • 10 to 12 years for a three- to four-bedroom
  • 4 to 6 years for a five-bedroom home

You need to wait for your name to come up on the waiting list and for a vacancy in the size of unit in buildings you have chosen.

Applicants are selected chronologically on a first-come, first-served basis. However there are Special Priority applicants who are housed on a priority basis.

Who qualifies for Special Priority?

The City of Toronto rules give priority to the following categories:

  • The first priority is for victims of domestic abuse 
  • The second priority is for the terminally ill and is reserved for applicants who have less than two years to live. Recognizing this priority is optional for housing providers. The City of Toronto recognizes this right and you can complete and submit a Request for Priority for Terminally Ill Applicants here.
  • The third priority is for over-housed tenants in subsidized housing. Tenants who are housed in a unit that is larger than the unit they qualify for under the provincial occupancy standards are required to move into a unit size they qualify for.

In addition, individuals who are disadvantaged by a chronological system under the following categories will fill one in seven subsidized housing vacancies:

  • Homeless
  • Separated families
  • Newcomers who are homeless
  • Youth who are 16 or 17 years old at the time of applying

Where do I live in the meantime?

It may take years before you get approved for subsidized housing. Read our articles on affordable housing and shelters to learn about all the other options you have.