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The Urgent Need for Affordable Housing in Canada and the Expediency of Modular Building Methods

An estimated 1.6 million Canadians have personally experienced homelessness, and more than one-third of our country’s population has been touched by it through the experience of family or friends.*

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone an even greater spotlight on the need to address homelessness across Canada. Those without a safe place to call home or who are vulnerable to homelessness are at undue risk for transmission of illness in addition to all the other daily challenges they face.

 

An estimated 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness every year, and 1.7 million households are in core housing need.* This is a jarring number of Canadians whose psychology and wellbeing are adversely affected by homelessness. It includes women, children and the elderly as well as educated, employable family members and individuals. Not having a roof over their heads undermines their prospects of securing a job, providing for their families, finding stability, and living a healthy, happy life. If left unaddressed, homelessness is an issue that impacts society as a whole, not just those who experience it directly.

 

Eradicating homelessness is a cause close to our hearts and a determining factor in our business strategy. Having the skills and capacity to provide rapid, sustainable, and affordable modular buildings, we know we can positively contribute to easing the burden of homelessness. Therefore, we are continually and actively engaged in conversations and partnerships focused on fighting homelessness and providing affordable housing solutions.

 

We have proudly sponsored the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) — an independent, member-funded and member-directed association that operates and manages more than 160,000 homes in communities across Ontario.

 

ONPHA is a strong advocate of the critical role that affordable rental housing plays in Ontario. We support and believe in the association’s mission to build vibrant, healthy, and diverse communities for all Ontarians and provide them with secure and adequate homes at an affordable cost in a community of their choice.

 

Recently, we attended and presented at the Central, Eastern and Northern Ontario regional meetings, highlighting with participants the efficiency and ability for modular construction to help deliver affordable housing solutions with accelerated timelines and project certainty.

 

Across British Columbia and now in Ontario, modular methods have successfully provided rapid, affordable housing solutions to support vulnerable people. 

 

NRB is proud to have been a part of more than 40 builds that have totalled over 1,500 units, now providing high-quality homes to those in need. These builds include the recently completed modular supportive housing projects at Macey Avenue (56 units) and Dovercourt Road (44 units) in the City of Toronto.

 

In May 2020, the City of Toronto chose NRB as the turnkey modular builder to provide 100 units of permanent supportive housing as Phase I of a pilot project. Within five months, NRB designed, manufactured, transported, and installed two affordable housing complexes featuring single occupancy suites and indoor and outdoor amenity spaces and central laundry in each building. Each building is equipped with a CCTV camera monitoring system, an in-suite intercom network, and exterior solar shades to minimize energy consumption. These projects are a perfect example of NRB’s commitment to helping municipalities, housing associations, and developers address homelessness and the expediency of the modular building method as an ingenious solution to the problem.  

 

Choosing modular for a multi-unit affordable housing project means unparalleled project certainty – certainty of cost, certainty of schedule and confidence of quality. It also means the opportunity to significantly reduce the project’s timeline from concept to completion, with manufacturing and site works operating concurrently, saving up to 50% of the time required for a conventional build.

 

Recognizing the success, certainty, and efficiency of modular housing developments in British Columbia and its growing popularity in Ontario, other groups like Region of Durham have reached out to NRB to leverage our expertise in design, manufacturing and delivery of rapid, affordable housing projects.

 

The proposed Durham/Beaverton project is intended to provide housing for those who need extra support and want to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to more independent living. The surrounding buildings and local architecture are taken into consideration while designing the project. Sloped roofs provide a residential feel and a distinctive yet contextual development that blends with adjacent buildings. The exterior finishes include simple and natural materials that offer a durable, tactile, and attractive design. The project is designed to run on solar energy and electric power to help reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 

Sustainability components of this design include on-demand/tankless electric water heaters, a tighter envelope seal and higher R-value to reduce energy consumption, and solar panels on the roof to help offset electricity costs.


NRB is the largest modular builder in Canada that offers unmatched capacity and a variety of applications. Our strengths put us in an advantageous position to help organizations such as ONPHA, municipalities, and indigenous communities create affordable housing.
We will continue to leverage our position to help them in their ambition to provide Canadians affordable homes and a fresh start in life. To learn more about our work or discuss a new project, contact us

*Stats are taken from Canadian Alliance for Ending Homelessness (CAEH) 

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