New Homelessness Prevention Program Helping Break the Cycle of Home Insecurity
The Ontario government is investing an additional $25 million annually in a new Homelessness Prevention Program to help more people experiencing or at risk of homelessness find the right housing services and other supports. The new program will simplify and streamline operations so municipal service managers can spend less time on paperwork and more time working with their clients to help find housing and other supports and help those at-risk of homelessness stay in their homes. The additional funding brings Ontario’s total yearly investment in the program to close to $464 million – almost half a billion dollars.
“Our government inherited a homelessness prevention system administered through several different government programs that was underfunded, fragmented and overly complex,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “With Ontario’s new Homelessness Prevention Program, we are simplifying the delivery of services and increasing funding so our municipal partners can spend more time focusing on providing vulnerable Ontarians with the supports they need to stay in their homes or get the housing they need.”
The Homelessness Prevention Program launching on April 1, 2022, combines three programs: Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative, Home for Good, and the Strong Communities Rent Supplement Program. It will give service managers more flexibility to target funding where it is needed the most and allow for greater financial accountability by measuring service managers’ progress in reducing and preventing homelessness in their communities.
Access to this funding will be based on having in place a By-Name List that meets the provincial requirements and contains detailed, up-to-date information from individuals experiencing homelessness to help connect them to local supports.
The government is also investing an additional $6.7 million in the Indigenous Supportive Housing Program, bringing the total annual investment to $30 million.
“Our government recognizes how important culturally appropriate housing is for Indigenous communities, and how critical these services are to improving the physical, mental and social well-being of Indigenous people across Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Through the Indigenous Supportive Housing Program, our government is more than doubling Ontario’s annual investment in Indigenous supportive housing, to ensure those at-risk for homelessness have access to the resources they need and deserve.”
The shortage of housing supply impacts all Ontarians, no matter their background or budget. The province’s ongoing work to increase the supply of market housing complements historic investments to increase the supply of supportive and affordable housing for the most vulnerable. As part of the consultations through the Community Housing Renewal Strategy, the government is working with service managers and housing providers to make community housing more efficient and sustainable – helping to protect essential community housing stock and ensure Ontario’s most vulnerable people remain housed.
“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home; it is a basic human right. This funding from the Province of Ontario will support critical homelessness prevention and housing services to help ensure Durham Region remains a healthy, safe and prosperous place. This investment will bring us one step closer to achieving our goal of ending chronic homelessness in Durham Region by 2024.” – John Henry, Regional Chair and CEO, Region of Durham
“With today’s announcement, Ontario is taking critical steps toward ending homelessness. By pairing the By Name List’s powerful, real-time, person-specific data with increased and more flexible funding, Ontario municipalities will be able to improve the coordination of their homelessness responses, unlock new solutions, increase efficiency and most importantly, deliver better housing outcomes for vulnerable Ontarians. This is really smart policy that puts Ontario on the cutting edge of provincial responses to homelessness in Canada.” – Tim Richter, President and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness
The new investments can be used to fund the operation of supportive housing units created through the province’s $1 billion Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) – one of the biggest investments the province has made in affordable housing and homelessness supports in Ontario’s history. Thanks to Ontario’s SSRF, the government is helping to create approximately 1,200 new supportive housing units.
Ontario is also providing the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness with up to $600,000 in 2022-23 to deliver by-name list training and implementation support related to HPP.
HPP is a direct response to feedback from the 2020-21 Supportive Housing Consultation. The changes made through the creation of the new program address recommendations in the Auditor General’s 2021 value-for-money audit on homelessness.