Province Hands Down Billion Dollar Plan to Combat Homelessness

Turning Away Tenants With Criminal Evictions And Making Some Take Asset Tests Part of Plan

The province says more than a billion dollars is being committed to help combat homelessness across the province, while it comes with stipulations.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark made the vow in Newmarket today, saying the province’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy should help improve community housing making low income tenants take an asset test to make sure they qualify, while it also would allow housing providers to turn away potential tenants who have been evicted for criminal activity as a means of making housing safer.

“We are putting families first and investing more in housing and homelessness, including supportive housing, than any other level of government,” said Clark. “Despite the challenging fiscal environment we inherited, we will protect this critical investment. We are committed to matching the federal dollars under the National Housing Strategy and look forward to negotiations on the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit.”

The strategy also aims for the following:

  • 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; and
  • Making housing safer by empowering housing providers to turn away tenants who have been evicted for criminal activity.

“As the Chair of Housing York, I am very aware of the lengthy wait that our citizens have in attaining affordable housing,” said John Taylor, Mayor of Newmarket. “By introducing asset limits and increasing the efficiency of the offer process we can be more responsive to those applicants with the highest needs.”