Ontario Transforming Housing and Homelessness System
Province Announces Update to Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy
Ontario is introducing a suite of legislative and policy measures, and investing $178 million over three years, to ensure that the people of Ontario have access to affordable and adequate housing and to help them secure employment, raise a family and build strong communities.
Last year, Ontario announced that it would consult with communities to update the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, first launched in 2010. The updated strategy is informed by feedback from key stakeholders including clients, developers, municipalities and advocates. It will make housing programs more people-centred and co-ordinated, and provide municipalities with flexibility to meet local needs.
To increase the supply of affordable housing and support the province’s goal of ending chronic homelessness in 10 years, Ontario is:
- Creating a framework for a portable housing benefit that would give people who receive housing assistance the flexibility to choose where they want to live. Further, the province will invest more than $17 million over three years to provide a portable housing benefit on a pilot basis to eventually support up to 3,000 survivors of domestic violence.
- Proposing legislation for inclusionary zoning that would enable municipalities to mandate the inclusion of affordable housing units in new development projects.
- Developing a Supportive Housing Policy Framework to improve client outcomes, and providing more than $100 million in funding over the next three years for new supportive housing to improve access for up to 4,000 families and individuals to services like counselling, dispensing medication, and life skills, as well as support the construction of up to 1,500 new supportive housing units over the long term.
- Providing an additional $45 million over three years to the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative.
- Developing an Indigenous Housing Strategy in partnership with Indigenous communities.
Investing in long-term, stable funding for affordable and adequate housing is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number one priority — to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
- The updated strategy reflects input the government received at 38 stakeholder meetings during summer 2015, and from 113 formal written submissions that reflect the housing needs of Ontarians across the province.
- The updated strategy also reflects the recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Homelessness’ 2015 report [PDF] and the recent report by the Mayor’s Task Force on Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
“We’ve achieved a lot since we launched our strategy in 2010 — we started transforming our housing system into one that’s more flexible, and more people-centred. Today, I’m proud to announce new investments that will help us achieve our commitment to a fair society and I’m looking forward to working with the federal government so that everyone has a place to call home.”
“Coming out of the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness, we set an ambitious target to end chronic homelessness in 10 years. With the updated Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy, we are making key investments that will help us achieve that target — investments that will not only help people find a home and stay in that home, but give them the freedom to choose where they want to live.”
“I am proud that our government is looking at new ways to help those who have experienced domestic violence find safe and affordable housing. I know that investments in supportive housing, such as the new portable housing benefit pilot, will really make a difference in the lives of women and their children who are fleeing domestic violence. These investments demonstrate the province’s commitment to its goals of ending violence against women and chronic homelessness.”
“Today’s launch of the updated housing strategy means more youth at risk will get a secure place to live and the support they need to build strong independent lives. Ontario’s vision is to provide services when and where they are needed — right in the community.”