Programs & Services

Housing Help

COSTI’s North York Housing Help Centre provides support to individuals who need help in finding and maintaining housing.

Services Available

We can help you by facilitating housing access, stabilization and preventing evictions. Free Services Available:

  • Access to newspapers, listings from landlords, the Internet and telephone
  • Support in finding and maintaining housing
  • Applications for subsidized and supportive housing
  • Rent Bank and Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
  • Women’s drop-in services, volunteering and mentorship opportunities
  • Access to identification PAID bi-weekly ID clinic
  • Educational programs and workshops on Tenants’ Rights and Responsibilities
  • Information about crisis lines, shelter hostels, shared accommodation, off-site services, home visits, escorts and access to identification

Staff at this location speaks; Albanian, Creole, English, Farsi, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Spanish. Other languages can also be made available upon request.

Who is Eligible

Services are available to all individuals who live, or want to live in the former City of North York. Individuals with limited income, new to Canada, and those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, 16 years and older, are also eligible.

Program Intake

By appointment only.

Contact Details for:

Housing Help
Phone: 416.244.0480

This Program is Located at:

North York Centre
Sheridan Mall, 1700 Wilson Ave., Suite 114
Toronto, Ontario
M3L 1B2. PO Box 88
Phone: 416.244.0480
Fax: 416.244.0379

There is no service fee for this program.

COSTI's Housing Help Centre is funded by the City of Toronto, Homeless Initiatives Fund and the United Way of Greater Toronto.

Related Resources

View Workshop Calendars

Read about Housing Help resources in Ontario and your Housing Legal Rights and Responsibilities

Cultural Excursions, Reading, Video, and Web Resources

COSTI has a large library of reading and resource materials, as well as detailed listings of monthly cultural events to help students improve and practice their English. Check back soon for a full listing.


Settlement.Org provides newcomers with information and resources to settle in Ontario. The website offers valuable information on education, employment, health, housing, immigration, language and literacy, and legal services.

211Toronto is a directory of over 20,000 community, social, health, and government, health services.

Language and Settlement Issues

In striving to provide clients with a high level of service, COSTI staff make every effort to address, and assist clients with issues they may be facing as they begin life in Canada. Check back soon to find information that will help you cope with:

Feelings of isolation and feeling like you don’t belong

Dealing with conflicting work and family responsibilities while trying to attend English language studies

Accessing outreach programs, programs to help you understand the Canadian culture

Getting in touch with community groups that share your language or culture

Accessing social services

Enrolling your children in school

Securing housing

Finding a job

Does the landlord have a right to increase my rent?

Your landlord has the right to increase your rent, once every twelve months. You must receive 90 days written notice before the increase.

General Information About Rental Housing in Ontario

General Information About Rental Housing in Ontario

What kinds of housing are common in Ontario?

Housing -

Whether you rent or buy, you can chooose from many different types of housing.

Here are some common examples:

  • Apartment (suite, flat)

    • Usually includes 1 bedroom or more, a kitch, a bathroom and a living rom. A bachelor or studio apartment has 1 room for sleeping and eating.

    • May be in a building or a house.

    • There are highrises (6-30 stories high with an elevator) or lowrises (fewer than 6 stories high, often with no elevator and called a "walk up").

    • Generally, apartments are owned by a landlord and managed by a superintendent who lives in the building.

  • Condominium (condo)

    •  A type of home ownership where you buy a unit in an apartment building or townhouse complex, but do not own the land. Owners sometimes rent condos to tenants.

    • Condominium owners join together in a corporation and elect a board a directors to manage the building and the land. Each owner pays his or her own mortgage, taxes, utilities and a monthly fee towards property maintenance.

  • Duplex and Triplex

    •  A house that is divided into 2 or 3 separate apartments, one on top of another. The owner of the house may live in one of the apartments.

    • May be a detached house, semi-detached house, or a townhouse.

  • Room (shared accommodation)

    •  A room in an apartment , house or other type of accommodation that is rented to 1 person. The tenant usually shares the kitchen, bathroom and living room with other tenants.

    • Furniture is often included. Meals may be included.

Some types of housing may be more available in certain cities.

Many community agencies can help you find information about renting or buying a home. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

For More Information


How Can I Find Housing Before I Arrive?

How Can I Find Housing Before I Arrive?

Finding housing is a difficult task at the best of times. Finding a place to live before you've even arrived in Canada will not be easy, but it is not impossible. It is important to keep in mind that what you might consider adequate accommodation in your country of origin might be very different here.

There are a number of ways to start looking for housing before you arrive. Since places can be quite different from how they look in pictures, it is recommended to see the place in person before you make the final decision to rent or buy it. .


  • Housing Help Centre

Housing Help Centres help people find affordable housing. Usually it is free to use this service.

  • Settlement Agencies

Settlement agencies provide services to newcomers, including help with finding house, employment, and access to any other service or information you need to get settled.

  • Classified Advertisements

Local newspapers usually have advertisements for house renting and buying.

Landlords usually place their ads 1-2 months before they want someone to move into their property. It is not a good idea to rent a place without seeing it first in person. However, visiting these ads will give you an idea about the price and availability.

  • Real Estate Rental Services

Also known as Property Rental Management or Rental Locators. Although they usually work with landlords, some of these companies help tenants find housing. There is usually a fee for this service.

  • Phonebook

The phonebook (or the "Yellow Pages") lists real estate rental services.

Many community agencies can help you find information about renting or buying a home. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

How Can I Look for Rental Housing?

There are many different ways you can look for an apartment or house to rent in Ontario. Here are some examples:


The advertisement section of major daily newspapers and weekly community newspapers have list rentals. You can read the newspaper for free at public libraries. Many newspapers let you search their classifieds ads online for free. Find your local community newspaper's website.

Family and Friends

Many people find places to rent through personal contacts. Ask your friends, family, co-workers and others if they know of any places that are available.

Rental Listing Websites

There is many websites that list rentals. Here are some examples and you can use a search engine to find others.

* These listings are for your information only. Settlement.Org does not recommend or endorse any particular listing.


Rental Locators

These are private companies that search for housing for you. There is usually a fee for this service.

Housing help centers and community agencies maintain lists of rentals. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

How Much Does It Cost To Rent An Apartment in Ontario?

The numbers in this article are from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Published in 2011.

The cost of renting an apartment or house depends on the size (number of bedrooms), the community and neighbourhood where it is located and the age and condition of the apartment or house.

Prices vary from city to city and from year to year. Generally, smaller cities have lower rental costs than larger cities.

You can find information about average rent prices in past years in CHMC Rental Market Reports. For local rental market information, please contact your local CMHC branch. You can also look in the classified ads in your local newspaper or check online housing listings. You can also call a housing help centre or community agency about rental pricing and trends. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.