PNLT board and community members. Photo: PNLT
Impact investments enable Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust purchase of 36 affordable housing units
2021

With the supply of affordable housing rapidly evaporating in communities like Parkdale across Toronto, the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) had been trying to figure out ways to acquire buildings to provide affordable units to local residents.

They were able to purchase their first residential building in 2019 with funds from a city pilot project; but challenged by the rigid mortgage-lending policies of big financial institutions and bidding wars that typically keep properties out of reach of non-profits, PNLT began to explore other models.

Where they landed was a first-of-its-kind impact investment offering – the Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program in partnership with the Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) — to mobilize the capital needed for the Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT’s charitable arm) to move quickly to purchase buildings when they go up for sale and preserve the stock of affordable rental housing in the community.

Seeing the potential of this model and alignment with the goals of our impact investing portfolio, Metcalf, along with seven other foundations and the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre provided the anchor investments in 2021.

In May 2021, PNLT and local residents celebrated the first purchase that was made possible as a result of the Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program – a low-rent residential building containing 36 apartments at 22 Maynard Avenue in Parkdale.

Widespread media coverage followed, which touted the significance of the purchase for the community as well as the unique financing model:

We are delighted to share news of an even more significant addition to PNLT’s affordable housing portfolio, just finalized last week.

On June 25, 2021, the City of Toronto announced that Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) would be transferring the ownership of 82 single family homes and small buildings to the Neighbourhood Land Trust in 2022, recognizing PLNT’s growing expertise in managing social housing portfolios. A partnership has also been established with the YWCA Toronto to maintain these properties permanently as affordable housing, focusing on supporting women-led households.

The preservation of these scattered units in community ownership is an incredible accomplishment, and critical in maintaining affordable homes and inclusive communities in Toronto. Through Metcalf’s Inclusive Local Economies program, we are supporting PNLT over the next 2 years to enhance their capacity for this significant growth and enable PNLT to embed social procurement, workforce development, housing operations, and social finance within its strategy and operations.

PNLT’s success in preserving and protecting local affordable rental housing demonstrates the potential for new models for community wealth and equitable development. Metcalf is a proud supporter of PNLT and its efforts to preserve the rich cultural, social, and economic diversity of Parkdale.

Learn more about PNLT.