Downtown Toronto Reside Project

By creating employment opportunities and new units of deeply affordable housing with wraparound supports, Raising the Roof’s Reside provides a tangible, targeted long-term solution to ending homelessness in Canada.

Raising the Roof renovated a single-family house in downtown Toronto that was deemed “uninhabitable” by the City of Toronto and sat empty for years. Now, it is a refugee family of 6, with HOTT (Houses Opening Today Toronto) providing property management, ongoing supports for the family, and connecting them to the resources they need as they get established in their new life in Canada.

Not only did this home prevent ongoing homelessness for the family, but also for 38 others through the hands-on training and support they received at Building Up.  38 people who had real challenges finding and keeping employment because of issues such as mental health concerns, conflict with the law, being newcomers to Canada without Canadian work experience, or were experiencing homelessness had the opportunity to fully renovate the home and learn sustainable building techniques as they used some of the latest green building materials and technologies. At the same time they received wraparound supports such as mental health resources, employment counselling, and financial help with rent and groceries. 22 of the people who worked on the property are now registered apprentices or are working full time in the trades. 13 are still active in Building Up’s program and are continuing their training on other projects. One trainee found a full-time position outside of the construction sector and only two exited without placement.

Thanks to our partners and supporters, this Reside project was able to prevent homelessness for over 40 people through housing and employment with supports.

Project Impact


people with barriers to employment received training, employment and support during the project renovations


out of the 38 trainees are now completing paid apprenticeships, working full time in the trades or are working with Building Up on other projects


refugees who were homeless and now have a beautiful, safe, affordable home with wraparound supports


people whose lives have been changed through full time employment in the trades and affordable housing with supports through the Reside program so far (and we're just getting started!)

"Before" Virtual Tour

"After" Virtual Tour

Councillor Paula Fletcher, Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth

The Reside Program is a fantastic initiative that provides homes for those in need while also providing training and career development for those searching for employment. It’s a win-win for everyone and I’m so glad to have this program in Ward 14. I’d like to extend my thanks to Raising the Roof, Houses Opening Today Toronto and all those involved. We need to continue building more quality, affordable housing and implementing these types of innovative programs.

Mazdak, Building Up Training Grad

After successfully completing the transformative and comprehensive in-class portion, I was granted the opportunity to work on the Eastern Ave site. Under the direction of the foreman, Julio, and the lead hand Carl, I was able to learn through experience how to carry myself on a construction site and was also given the opportunity to be taught a variety of practical skills. 

The speed with which I have been able to reach this point in my life transition would not have been possible without the help I received from Building Up. The amazing math lessons, the broad financial supports, and the useful guidance from instructors, case managers, and site supervisors were foundational in my ability to achieve my career dreams. I am now registered with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 27, and am working with Flynn in the Metals department doing sub-framing and building envelope on the Simpson Tower at 401 Bay St.

Tenants before moving into their new home

Right now, we don’t have a home. So, getting this home means a lot to us. Home is one of the basic needs for human beings to live in this world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your kind support to our family.

Lisa Horrocks, HOTT

HOTT is delighted to be partnering with Raising the Roof to support a refugee family with the opportunity of having a long-term, stable and affordable home in Toronto. We have great respect for Raising the Roof as an organization and the innovative, transformative approach they take to creating housing and career development opportunities through the Reside Program. Their approach has a high impact on individual lives as well as providing broader social and community benefit by renovating housing that would have otherwise been vacant. As HOTT continues working hard to provide affordable housing and a helping hand in communities across Toronto, Raising the Roof’s dedication and the support of many wonderful partners, means that we are making the most of every available opportunity to provide housing to those who need it most.

Tarah Clark, Building Up

Building Up is thrilled about our growing partnership with Raising the Roof. Raising the Roof provides our participants with the unique training opportunity of first hand work experience in construction. By renovating vacant spaces into energy efficient affordable housing our participants build not only their skills, confidence and employability, but they also go home proud of the work they have done. Our work with Raising the Roof gives us the ability to truly set our participants up for success in both their careers and their lives.

Project timeline

March 2021

December 2021

January 2022

March 2021

Building Up started the construction and hands-on trades based training in March 2021 after Raising the Roof acquired the house from Toronto Community Housing.

December 2021

The extensive renovations and greening were completed. The formerly “uninhabitable” house was transformed into a safe, comfortable home for a family who was experiencing homelessness

January 2022

A refugee family of 6 moved in January 15, 2022. HOTT will provide ongoing wraparound supports as they begin their new life in Canada.

Downtown Toronto

Before, Construction and After Photos

Contact us

You can help

To find out more about the Reside program, become a sponsor or participate in a Community Build Day with your team, please contact us.