After our coalition of more than 27 community-based organizations in Ontario wrote to the government urging more funding for housing and homelessness prevention programs this past November, we’re pleased to report that 2014 Budget includes this nugget:
“The government is enhancing annual funding for the CHPI by $42 million starting in 2014-15, to a total of $294 million” (p120): http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2014/ch1d.html#s1-68.
And a Budget press release says: “Consistent with the success of housing-first approaches in Ontario and elsewhere, the government is enhancing annual funding for the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) by $42 million starting in 2014–15, to a total of $294 million. The CHPI allows municipalities to better address local housing priorities.” http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2014/bk3.html
Clearly we need more details about how the money will be allocated to local municipalities. And we need to do more work to ensure local municipalities are actually passing the money through to low income people in their communities. But we should savour this moment as a victory in what can happen when we take collective action.
The loss of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit will be felt in communities across Ontario for years to come. But thank you to everyone who participated in this effort for all your hard work on this issue and for continuing to advocate for people on social assistance in Ontario and all those who face housing insecurity and homelessness in our communities.
For your information, here is a link to ISAC’s analysis of Budget 2014: http://incomesecurity.org/public-education/mixed-results-for-social-assistance-in-budget-2014/