The Ontario government will provide “more than $1 billion dollars in 2019-20 to help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness,” according to a press release from local MPP Laurie Scott.
The government has also revealed the province’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy, outlining its plan to “transform a fragmented and inefficient system into one that is more streamlined, sustainable and ready to help people who need it most.”
“Community housing should provide safe and comfortable housing for lower-income seniors and families. Our government’s investments will help ensure that our most vulnerable have improved access to safe, affordable housing,” said MPP Scott in the release. “We will continue work with Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing Corp. and community housing providers across the province to address issues like safety, overcrowding and long wait lists.”
The press release states that 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.
- 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.