The province of Ontario is actively working to improve community housing.
It was recently announced that over the course of 2019 to 2020, the Ontario government is providing more than $1 billion to help build, repair and maintain affordable community housing.
However, that’s not all the province is doing.
The province’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy, which was also recently revealed, outlines the government’s plan to transform the current system into one that is more streamlined, sustainable and ready to help people who need it most.
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The new strategy includes a list of goals to improve community housing across the province. These goals are as follows.
- 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; and
- Making housing safer by empowering housing providers to turn away tenants who have been evicted for criminal activity.
Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, made these announcements in Newmarket on April 17, 2019.
“Our government believes Ontario families shouldn’t have to live in buildings with crumbling walls, leaking roofs and broken elevators,” Clark said in a recent news release. “We will work with municipalities and non-profits to address issues like safety, overcrowding and long wait lists.”
Providing roughly 250,000 individuals and families with homes, community housing is vital to curbing homelessness throughout Ontario. And from 2014 to 2018, the previous provincial government under the Liberals contributed 57 percent of spending on homelessness and affordable housing.
“As the Chair of Housing York, I am very aware of the lengthy wait that our citizens have in attaining affordable housing,” John Taylor, Mayor of Newmarket, said in the release. “By introducing asset limits and increasing the efficiency of the offer process we can be more responsive to those applicants with the highest needs.”
Clark continued to explain the province’s commitment to this investment.
“We are putting families first and investing more in housing and homelessness, including supportive housing, than any other level of government,” Clark said. “Despite the challenging fiscal environment we inherited, we will protect this critical investment. We are committed to matching the federal dollars under the National Housing Strategy and look forward to negotiations on the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit.”
What do you think of this investment?