The province announced Monday (March 23) that they were allocating $200 million in relief funding for social services.
A press release from the Government of Ontario says that the funds will be allocated to municipalities and organizations providing social services — like shelters, food banks, emergency services, charities and non-profits — to support their ongoing response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are acting quickly to support those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless during this unprecedented time,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
“This funding will go straight to communities, who know best what the immediate needs are on the ground in their local shelters.”
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Funds will also be made available to organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations individuals and families, the release said.
“If Ontario is going to successfully flatten the curve, it’s vital that we ensure that all Ontarians have the resources they need to protect their health and well-being,” said Christine Elliott, Ontario’s Minister of Health.
The funding will also go towards helping individuals who do not qualify for emergency financial supports under federal programs, the release said.
The provincial government says they are working to put in place an expanded Emergency Assistance program administered through Ontario Works (OW) to cover these individuals’ needs such as food, rent, informal childcare, and services.
There will also be discretionary benefits available to those who already receive social assistance, according to the release.
Last week, after declaring a state of emergency in Ontario, the provincial government announced a $304 million investment in COVID-19 response, including $20 million for residential facilities in developmental services, gender-based services and protective care for children and youth.
“Our government will spare no expense to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians,” said Premier Doug Ford in Monday’s press release.
“We are doing our part to show the Ontario spirit and we will make sure no one gets left behind.”
To learn more about the province’s response to the outbreak of COVID-19 or to access services, visit here.