Affordable and quick access to housing is a real issue in Brampton and beyond. For some residents, it’s harder to find a home than for others, but now, survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking are getting some very necessary support across the province.
The province announced in a recent statement that survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking survivors will be provided with faster access to housing through a portable housing benefit — basically a subsidy — that’s meant ot help low-income households manage housing costs.
Why is it called a “portable” housing benefit?
Well, the subsidy isn’t tied to a specific household unit like a lot of “rent-geared-to-income” social housing.
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So, survivors have the freedom to choose where they live and get the support to live there through the subsidy, and be in special priority to receive support.
There was a portable housing benefit pilot program that started with survivors of domestic violence in 22 Ontario communities. These people were able to choose a portable housing benefit over traditional social housing, and it was clearly successful, because the program is being expanded to include more people — this time around, survivors of human trafficking.
“Changes to the application process will also make it faster, more culturally inclusive and recognize the cycle of abuse,” said the province. “This will make it easier for survivors and their families to apply for housing and help them escape abusive situations more quickly.”
Whether or not you see it — domestic violence and human trafficking exist within our community.
“Human trafficking and domestic violence are brutal and heart breaking crimes that exploit the vulnerable in our communities,” said minister for the status of women Indira Naidoo-Harris. “It is so important to have specialized supports and services available to meet the needs of survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. This expanded portable housing benefit program ensures that survivors of violence have a safe place to go to rebuild their lives and heal.”
The portable housing benefit is also a huge aspect in the newly announced National Housing Strategy that’s geared towards making housing more affordable.
Starting January 1, 2018, survivors of human trafficking can also have priority access to rent-geared-to-income social housing. Survivors of domestic violence currently receive priority access, according to the province.
The expanded portable housing benefit program aims to support up to 3,000 survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. the province is investing $30 million over three years, and funding will increase to $15 million annually come 2020.