The Province of Ontario has increased its efforts to end homelessness by providing new funding for municipalities through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative. Chris Ballard, Ontario's Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, made the announcement earlier this week from Barrie, where he announced $632 million in funds over two years through a partnership with Ontario municipalities. The funds will be allocated towards the provision of long-term and transitional housing, financial assistance to help families and individuals facing eviction, and integrated supportive services to help people with specific needs in their access to suitable and affordable housing.
Over 100,000 people experiencing homelessness in Ontario could benefit from these funds, or alternatively, almost 600,000 households would remain stably housed through this provincial initiative. The Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) amalgamates funding from former, separate housing programs into a single tool that allows service managers (municipalities) to better allocate housing funds for Ontarians in need. By allowing communities to determine the usage of these provincial funds based on local priorities, Minister Ballard believes that Ontario municipalities can better address issues of homelessness and prevent more individuals and families from becoming homeless.
In addition to the funding package announced yesterday, the Province of Ontario is also supporting the creation of over 20,000 affordable housing units, as well as increasing the number of repairs and improvements to social housing units and providing over 90,000 families and individuals with rent and down-payment assistance. These actions are taking place in the context of increased pressure on senior levels of government to tackle urban homelessness and reengage in the provision of affordable housing, as evidenced by the declarations made by the mayors of Canada's largest cities at the 2016 Toronto Housing Summit last week.
Do you think the new funding package announced by the Government of Ontario will make a significant impact on urban homelessness throughout the Province? How do these funds contribute to the creation of a national housing strategy? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.