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Greater Sudbury subsidized housing stock being sold, but not downsized

The City of Greater Sudbury is selling off subsidized housing units, but plans to replace whatever is sold with units that better suit the city’s current needs
2141 Robin Street is seen posted as “Sold” - one of a handful of subsidized housing units the City of Greater Sudbury has sold in recent days.

Even though the City of Greater Sudbury is selling off some of its subsidized housing stock, it doesn’t mean they’re downsizing. 

In total, 14 single-family dwellings are being put up for sale one at a time, city housing services manager Cindi Briscoe said, adding that six of these units have already been sold. 

Most are in the New Sudbury neighbourhood and are known in the community as “green door homes,” as many of them have green front doors.

Replacing these 14 houses will be a 14-unit seniors housing project at 1310 Sparks St., which Briscoe said she hopes to see open sometime next year.

“That shows you right there that we’re investing our money right back into the community,” she said, affirming that her department has received no direction to significantly pare down its housing stock. 

The provincial Housing Services Act mandates the city maintain its city-owned housing stock of 1,848 units and overall subsidized housing stock of approximately 4,000 - a level the city far exceeds with its current stock of 4,625. 

“We are bound by law to make sure that we have sufficient stock, so there’s no way that we could do a mass sale and get rid of all these buildings,” Briscoe said. 

This point of clarity has become necessary in recent weeks as a number of readers have been reaching out to with concerns about the city selling off subsidized housing stock in the midst of a pandemic that has resulted in an increase in people struggling with household finances. 

“For Sale” signs have been appearing throughout the New Sudbury neighbourhood in front of the easily recognizable green door homes, prompting concern. 

The decision to sell these houses came as a result of a deep dig into the city’s housing needs, which was compiled into the City of Greater Sudbury Housing Revitalization Plan first submitted to the city’s elected officials in 2019. 

In the report, it was noted the city’s housing stock consisted of aging buildings built between 1950 and 1978 whose condition resulted in tenants reporting poor building and living conditions.

Further, Briscoe said, the city’s needs changed during the past few decades while city-owned housing stock remained static. 

“We have an overabundance of larger units and we don’t have enough one-bedroom units, so we’re trying to realign our stock with our wait-list needs,” she said, pointing to the Sparks Street development as offering a step in this direction.

With the city’s inventory of scattered homes targeted as the least-needed and most expensive to maintain, the decision was made to sell off 14 of them and have the proceeds go into the city’s Social Housing Capital Reserve to fund future builds such as the Sparks Street development. 

Units must be vacant and have no mortgage on them in order to be put up for sale, Briscoe said, and houses are put up for sale one at a time so as to not flood the market. 

A realtor was selected through the municipal procurement process.

Subsidized housing requires tenants to pay 30 per cent of their income toward rent.

In addition to the City of Greater Sudbury-owned 1,848 units, the city’s subsidized housing stock of 4,625 also includes non-profit and co-operative housing units, private housing and other housing programs. 

After the Sparks Street development, the next big project for the city will be a transitional housing complex on Lorraine Street, which will be set up to help people who are chronically homeless transition into permanent community housing. At the latest update, the city was waiting on final confirmation that federal funding through CMHC has been secured. 

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for 


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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