The residential building community contributed $1.4 million to homeless housing projects

Thousands of small, family-run contracting businesses make up Ontario’s residential builders, so giving back to the community is also important to them.

RESCON recently held an event to recognize our industry’s role in constructing two affordable housing projects in Toronto for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The residential construction industry and our partners from management and labour successfully raised more than $1.4 million to construct affordable housing units at 25 Leonard Ave. St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society, a charitable organization that provides affordable housing in Toronto, is renovating supportive housing apartments at 877 Yonge St.

In order to achieve our goal, we would not have been able to accomplish it without the support of our industry partners.

Our partners and supporters were joined by Toronto Mayor John Tory, Associate Housing Minister Michael Parsa, and Toronto Councillor Brad Bradford.

Despite this, Phil Rubinoff of Laurier Homes is the unsung hero of the two successful fundraising drives, whose dedication and perseverance helped raise funds for St. Clare’s.

Phil is a community builder and philanthropist who chaired the fundraising committee for the two projects.

Phil has contributed to numerous causes and has been an active leader in many charities for decades. He inspires us with his humanity, generosity, and empathy toward people in need. In spite of volunteering countless hours, he does not seek recognition for his efforts.

The Ida Rubinoff Fund at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre was founded by Phil Rubinoff and his late wife Ida to support cancer patients with out-of-pocket expenses.

Volunteer and contributor to the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto, which raises money for social services, education, and cultural programs.

Phil, however, contributed to the Quebec referendum by founding Canadians for a Unified Canada, a group that engaged in a 10-month letter-writing campaign to dispel perceptions of apathy from the rest of the country and demonstrate support for Quebec families.

The founding member of three residential construction associations under the umbrella of RESCON and founding chairman of the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario, Phil has dedicated himself to improving the residential construction industry as a community builder.

People who have experienced long-term homelessness have been housed at the Leonard Avenue site in 22 housing units. A former seniors’ residence on Yonge Street was converted into 25 supportive housing apartments for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

In addition to supporting the construction of the two housing projects, the fundraising campaign raised the profile of practical solutions to homelessness in the media, which has had an important ripple effect on St. Clare’s and on the discussion about homelessness in the province.

Both projects were a pleasure for the residential construction industry to participate in. The projects are excellent examples of what can be achieved when the private and public sectors and the government join forces for a good cause. We are delighted they are now in operation and helping people get into appropriate housing.

There is no doubt that we are in need of more affordable housing in Toronto and throughout Ontario. Projects such as St. Clare’s are much needed.

The need for affordable housing is greater than ever, according to St. Clare’s executive director Andrea Adams.

“Completion of these projects is a meaningful step in the right direction, but it is not the end of our efforts,” she said in a recent statement. Homeless and at-risk people benefit greatly from these projects, which provide them with appropriate housing and dignity in order to change their lives.”

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