ROSS ROMANO, MPP FOR SAULT STE. MARIE
The Ontario government is putting people first by providing more than $1 billion dollars in 2019-20 to help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness. Yesterday, our government also revealed the province’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy, outlining our plan to transform a fragmented and inefficient system into one that is more streamlined, sustainable and ready to help people who need it most.
“Our government believes Ontario families shouldn’t have to live in buildings with crumbling walls, leaking roofs and broken elevators,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “We will work with the province and non-profits to address issues like safety, overcrowding and long wait lists.”
As part of this $1 billion announcement, Sault Ste. Marie will receive $15.3 million in funding for the local Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, as well as $2.7 million for the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board. These organizations will have the flexibility to use the funds provided where they believe it will make the best impact to the community.
“The release of the Province’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy designed to help sustain, repair, and grow Community Housing is great news,” said Mike Nadeau, chief administrative officer of the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board. “I am very pleased that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has committed to continuing existing programming, increased funding for our local Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative and added two new programs, Canada-Ontario Housing Initiative and Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative. I would like to thank Ross Romano for his advocacy to secure increased funding will greatly assist with our goal of ending chronic homelessness in Sault Ste. Marie.”
Ontario’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy includes early steps to improve community housing across the province:
- 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;
- Making housing safer by empowering housing providers to turn away tenants who have been evicted for criminal activity.
- In 2014-18, Ontario contributed 57 per cent of housing and homelessness spending, compared with just 17 per cent from the federal government.
- Community housing is provided by non-profit, co-operative and municipal housing agencies. It includes a range of programs from subsidized social and affordable housing, including housing for Indigenous people, to rent supplements and portable housing benefits that help people find housing in the private market.