Analysing the City of Toronto’s Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition Program
Toronto took an important step to support affordable housing in November 2021 when City Council approved the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA) Program. Under the MURA Program – the first of its kind in Canada – non-profit and Indigenous housing providers receive grants to acquire existing rental housing and maintain it as permanently affordable. This focus on acquisition is timely: in Canada, affordable rental units are being lost at a faster rate than they are being built.
The MURA Program is indicative of the broader role municipalities across Canada have been playing in directly funding affordable housing through targeted grant programs. The impetus for and limitations of this municipal role are therefore worth examining, particularly in the context of provincial constraints on municipal finances.
On May 2nd, IMFG graduate fellow Celia Wandio discussed the origins and importance of affordable housing acquisition programs, shared findings on the emerging municipal role in housing, and argued that fulfilling this role will necessitate new and expanded municipal revenue tools.
Celia Wandio is the recipient of the Blanche and Sandy Van Ginkel Graduate Fellowship in Municipal Finance and Governance. She is a second-year Master of Science in Planning student whose research interests are informed by her prior work experiences in the social and co-operative housing sectors in the UK and Canada. Celia’s research focuses on municipal housing policy and specifically how municipalities fund affordable housing programs that support the non-profit housing sector.