Communities across Ontario need more funds for housing and homelessness supports
Right now, local and regional municipalities across Ontario are planning their budgets for 2014. One of the issues they’re debating is how to respond to the need of low-income Ontarians in their communities to secure or retain housing.
Beginning in January 2013, the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) was eliminated from social assistance. This benefit was available to people receiving OW and ODSP and provided an important source of funds for costs like first and last month’s rent, rental and utilities arrears, and other housing-related expenses.
Half of CSUMB funds were transferred to a new program, the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), which is administered by local and regional municipalities. CHPI is intended to help municipalities provide for the housing and homelessness needs of all low-income Ontarians in their communities.
In December 2012, the provincial government responded to community concern about the impending loss of CSUMB by instituting a one-time $42 million “transition fund”to help municipalities move to the new CHPI program.
But the transition funds run out in March 2014.
A coalition of 27 concerned organizations from across Ontario sent a letter to government urging that the $42 million be made a permanent part of the CHPI fund – and to do it right away, while municipalities plan their budgets for next year.
Many municipalities created their own local programs to address the need in communities for direct funding for housing and homelessness costs. Some, unfortunately, did not. But they all need more funds to meet the need in their communities.
While the $42 million will not replace CSUMB, it will go some way to ensuring that low income people in communities across Ontario will have the funds they need to secure housing and to prevent losing their housing, due directly to lack of income.
Read and download the letter here: CSUMB - Letter To Premier Wynne - Make $42 Million Permanent In CHPI - 2013
You can support this effort by sending an email echoing the call to make the $42 million a permanent part of CHPI. Send your emails to:
Premier Kathleen Wynne – Kwynne.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hon Linda Jeffreys, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing –email@example.com
The Hon Teresa Piruzza, Minister of Children and Youth Services –firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hon Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services –email@example.com
Tim Hudak, Leader of the Official Opposition – firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the NDP – email@example.com