The $36 million raised from a Canadian charity’s sale of downtown Toronto properties will allow the non-profit to spend more on homeless people and expand arts programs, Wente Education, Inc. president Andy Rubenfeld said. In five years, when Wente, a nonprofit that provides health care and education for children, is projected to make its annual budget, $12 million, could go to the homeless, Rubenfeld said.
In February 2018, the group sold five low-income residential and commercial properties for $36 million. Included in the five sale were West 4th Street at the corner of Adelaide Street, a government building used by tenants for food, insurance and other financial services, and 920 Queen Street West and 890 Queen Street West, which house an artistic group and a conference center.
In September, Wente announced another $14 million sale and leaseback deal to 115 Queen Street West, an Art-Deco building, for $1.33 million, money that will be used to buy another property on the same block.
Art News, which first reported the story, said $30 million of the money will be put into a local pot to buy properties, offer rents at the prevailing market rate, help fund housing as well as pay staff salaries. Some will also go to existing facilities like soup kitchens, homeless shelters and training programs for women and children.
“It is clear that in the current environment, Wente is providing the city with the alternative housing that is desperately needed,” Rubenfeld told Toronto media. “We are earning excellent return on the investment and putting $24 million in the community we serve.”