submitted by MPP Steve Clark
The Ontario government is investing an additional $202 million annually in the province’s Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supporting Housing Program, bringing Ontario’s total yearly investment in these programs to close to $700 million. The additional funding will help those experiencing or at risk of homelessness and support community organizations delivering supportive housing.
The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville will receive an annual total of $3,160,000 in funding through the Homelessness Prevention Program. This is an increase of $1,567,700 – or approximately 98 per cent – over last year.
The additional funding, announced in the 2023 Budget, represents a 40 per cent increase in funding by the government to support the most vulnerable by providing supportive housing and homelessness prevention services. Under the $202 million, $190.5 million each year will be allocated to the Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP), which gives Ontario’s 47 Service Managers greater flexibility to allocate funding and make better use of existing resources to focus on delivering supports.
The remaining $11.5 million each year will be invested in the Indigenous Supportive Housing Program (ISHP), which provides Indigenous-led, culturally appropriate long-term housing solutions and support services to Indigenous people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
“This investment will provide life-changing support for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Leeds and Grenville,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. “That’s why we’ve increased funding for our homelessness prevention programs by 98 per cent, and I’m so pleased my ministry is able to take the lead on this important file. These measures complement the bold and transformational change we are implementing to tackle the housing supply crisis and get more homes built across Ontario.”
“During a time of economic challenges and change, our government is supporting those who have fallen on hard times and are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, homelessness,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Ontario’s 2023 Budget: Building a Strong Ontario is the right plan to support those who need it the most today while laying a strong fiscal foundation for future generations.”
The increased funding is a result of a revised funding model that better reflects the current needs of individuals who are facing homelessness across Ontario. Funding dollars are being increased to address increased needs, particularly during a time of rising inflation, and to help ensure that no service manager receives a decrease in funding compared to 2022-23 as a result of the transition to the new model.
“Supportive housing provides people in need with a roof over their heads. It also connects them with services that provide a hand up to improve their circumstances, including mental health support and job training,” said Nina Tangri, Associate Minister for Housing. “Our government met with partners and stakeholders across the province this past fall – we heard their concerns and are addressing their valuable feedback to improve Ontario’s supportive housing system. This investment will make a real impact to support housing providers that help vulnerable Ontarians each and every day.”
The changes also address the recommendation in the Auditor General’s 2021 value-for-money audit on homelessness, which called for a better funding model for homelessness programs that would target areas where funding is most needed.
In addition to reducing costs in other sectors, supportive housing provides people in Ontario with an opportunity to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives. Ontario will continue to support the most vulnerable by providing supportive housing and homelessness prevention services to help those most in need.
“The enhanced funding for Homelessness Prevention will be invaluable as we develop creative and thoughtful strategies to not only reduce homelessness in our community but to support people to become housed and remain housed,” said Alison Tutak, Director of Community and Social Services with the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.
“On behalf of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, I am very encouraged to see this investment which is intended to increase our capacity to respond to those currently without housing,” said United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Warden, Nancy Peckford.
In order to access HPP funding, Service Managers must have in place a comprehensive and up-to-date By-Name List of people experiencing homelessness, along with information about their needs. This is to ensure that Service Managers have the up-to-date information they need from individuals experiencing homelessness to help connect people with the right housing and supports as soon as they are available.
Through the Community Housing Renewal Strategy, response to COVID-19 and homelessness initiatives, over the past three years Ontario invested nearly $4.4 billion for community and supportive housing while addressing homelessness and the impacts of the pandemic for vulnerable Ontarians.
In 2022, the government introduced the More Homes Built Faster Act, which takes bold action to address the housing crisis by building 1.5 million homes by 2031. The plan also has measures to reduce municipal charges for housing providers looking to build non-profit and affordable housing for vulnerable Ontarians.