The Ontario government is providing more than $1 billion dollars in 2019-20 to help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness.
The government also revealed a new Community Housing Renewal Strategy, outlining its plan to transform what Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson called “a fragmented and inefficient system” into one that is “more streamlined, sustainable and ready to help people” who need it most.
“Our government believes families shouldn’t have to live in buildings with crumbling walls, leaking roofs and broken elevators,” Thompson said. “We will work with the province and non-profits to address issues like safety, overcrowding and long wait lists.”
Ontario’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy includes early steps to improve community housing across the province:
- Encouraging tenants to seek opportunities at school and work by removing existing penalties for working more hours or going to college or university;
- Making rent more predictable by simplifying rent calculations;
- Freeing up the waitlist by having tenants prioritize their first choice and accept the first unit they are offered, while allowing Service Managers flexibility to make exceptions in extenuating circumstances;
- Protecting tenants who receive child support payments by ensuring their rent is not impacted by payments;
- Making housing available to those who truly need it by requiring an asset test;
- Making housing safer by empowering housing providers to turn away tenants who have been evicted for criminal activity.
The announcement came with new funding in four areas:
- Investment in Affordable Housing in Ontario (2014 Extension) – Huron County: $251,800; Bruce County: $287,300;
- Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative: Huron County $548,392; Bruce County: $625,441;
- Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative: Huron County $367,100; Bruce County: $474,200; and
- Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative: Huron County: $29,106; Bruce County: $58,387.
“Many people believe homelessness and housing shortages are just urban issues, but that is simply not the case,” Thompson said. “My constituency offices in Kincardine and Blyth deal with this on a regular basis. I know these funds will help alleviate the problem and provide assistance to those who need it most.”
- In 2014-18, Ontario contributed 57 per cent of housing and homelessness spending, compared with just 17 per cent from the federal government.
- Community housing is provided by non-profit, co-operative and municipal housing agencies. It includes a range of programs from subsidized social and affordable housing, including housing for Indigenous people, to rent supplements and portable housing benefits that help people find housing in the private market.