Thursday, March 09, 2017
Ontario Boosting Housing Supports for up to 6,000 Families in Need
Ontario is increasing its investment in housing assistance and supports across the province to help up to 6,000 families in need remain permanently housed - a major step forward in its goal to end chronic homelessness by 2025.
Chris Ballard, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, was at the Native Women's Centre Mountain View in Hamilton today to announce the new investment. Twenty per cent of the new funding will be dedicated to supporting Indigenous people.
The new supports, such as counselling, addictions services and life skills training, will help people who are homeless and experiencing addictions, or living with mental illness or disabilities, to obtain housing and remain permanently housed. The funding will allow municipalities and Indigenous organizations to deliver ongoing supportive housing programs that best meet the needs of chronically homeless people in their communities.
This investment builds on the three-year funding for supportive housing that was previously announced in March 2016 as part of the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy update. In the coming days, the province will launch a selection process to choose a number of municipalities to participate in the program, and will work with Indigenous partners to select organizations that will deliver these services for Indigenous people.
Working with Indigenous partners to end chronic homelessness by 2025 is one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
- Chronic homelessness refers to the state of being homeless for six months or more in the past year.
- To support its goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025, Ontario is increasing its operating funding for housing assistance and support services to $100 million annually, beginning in 2019-20. This will bring the total investment since 2017 to $200 million by 2019-20, assisting up to 6,000 families and individuals.
- $20 million in operating funding will be invested over the next two years to give Indigenous people better access to supportive housing, with the funding ramping up to $20 million annually by 2019. Since 2008, Ontario has committed over $168 million to off-reserve Indigenous households.
- Indigenous communities are significantly overrepresented among the homeless population and are more likely to face difficulties finding a place to call home compared to non-Indigenous people in Ontario.
- The province is also developing an Indigenous housing strategy, in partnership with Indigenous organizations, to address the unique housing challenges and needs of First Nation, Métis and Inuit Peoples.
- The updated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy focuses on making housing programs more people-centred and coordinated, and provides municipalities with flexibility to meet local needs through tools like inclusionary zoning.
- The revised strategy also reflects the recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness in 2015.
“In Ontario, we believe that every one of us deserves the security of knowing we’ll have a safe place to lay our heads. It’s a belief that formed the foundation of our goal to end chronic homelessness by 2025 and today’s announcement marks huge progress towards reaching that goal. As a province, we will continue to extend an arm around those who need it most and meet our goal of bringing every one of our neighbours home for good.”
Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy
“We must take action to end Indigenous homelessness in Ontario. By increasing support services and by investing in Indigenous organizations so that they can deliver supportive housing programs that meet the unique needs of their communities, we are making advancements towards our goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025. Breaking the cycle of Indigenous peoples overrepresented among the homeless population is one of many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”
Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
“As a person who has experienced being homeless, I believe that the government’s new investments and innovative approach to delivering supportive housing to those most at risk of homelessness in our communities represent a big step towards promoting social inclusion for all, and ultimately towards helping people rise out of poverty.”
Director of Strategic Initiatives at Working for Change and Member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness