Ontario increasing support for homelessness prevention in Quinte-area municipalities
BELLEVILLE – In 2023-2024, two municipal service managers serving Hastings, Lennox and Addington, and Prince Edward Counties will share $8,597,200 through Ontario’s Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP) and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program (IHSP), Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, and Ric Bresee, MPP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington announced today.
Hastings County Community & Human Services will receive $6,142,600 – an 80-per-cent increase over 2022-2023 – to serve the cities of Belleville and Quinte West and 14 lower-tier municipalities, while Prince Edward-Lennox and Addington Social Services will receive $2,454,600 – a 125-per-cent increase over 2022-2023 – to serve Prince Edward County and four lower-tier municipalities in Lennox and Addington County.
“This increased funding allocation will ensure municipalities and community organizations have the resources they need to create programming to counter homelessness and the root causes of homelessness,” said Smith. “By working collaboratively, we can deliver the innovative, effective supports vulnerable members of our community need in a timely fashion.”
Bresee added Ontario is taking a whole-of-government approach to housing shortages by working to provide more housing of all types, including family and individual rental. He said the announcement will “help ensure locally appropriate solutions delivered by local government and funded by the province.”
In the Province’s 2023 budget, the Ontario government announced a commitment of $202 million annually to the two programs over the next three years, with $190.5 million going to the HPP to be split among 47 service managers for support delivery in their communities. The funding may be used on homelessness prevention programming and supportive housing projects.
The remaining $11.5 million will go to the ISHP annually to support Indigenous-led, culturally appropriate long-term housing services and support services to Indigenous people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Together, the commitments represent a 40-per-cent increase in government funding to support vulnerable people through supportive housing and homelessness prevention services.
“We know Ontario’s housing supply crisis impacts all Ontarians, no matter their background or budget,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “That’s why we’ve increased funding for our homelessness prevention programs by more than 40 per cent. These measures complement the bold and transformational change we are implementing to tackle the housing supply crisis and get more homes built faster across Ontario.”
The increased funding is a result of a revised funding model that better reflects the current needs of individuals who are facing homelessness across Ontario. Funding dollars are being increased to address increased needs, particularly during a time of inflation, and to help ensure that no services manager receives a decrease in funding compared to 2022-2023 because of the transition to the new model.
“Supportive housing provides people in need with a roof over their heads. It also connects them with services that provide a hand up to improve their circumstances, including mental health support and job training,” said Nina Tangri, Associate Minister for Housing. “Our government met with partners and stakeholders across the province last fall – we heard their concerns and are addressing their valuable feedback to improve Ontario’s supportive housing system. This investment will make a real impact.”
The changes also address the recommendation in the Auditor General’s 2021 value-for-money audit on homelessness, which called for a better funding model for homelessness programs that would target areas where the funding is most needed.
In addition to reducing costs in other sectors, supportive housing provides people in Ontario with an opportunity to live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. Ontario will continue to support the most vulnerable by providing supportive housing and homelessness prevention services to help those most in need.
- In order to access HPP funding, service managers must have in place a comprehensive and up-to-date by-name list of people experiencing homelessness, along with information about their needs. This is to ensure that service managers have the up-to-date information they need from individuals experiencing homelessness to help connect people to the right housing and supports as soon as they are available.
- Through the Community Housing Renewal Strategy, response to COVID-19 and homelessness initiatives, over the past three years Ontario invested nearly $4.4 billion for community and supportive housing while addressing homelessness and the impacts of the pandemic for vulnerable Ontarians.
- In 2022, the government introduced the More Homes Built Faster Act, which takes bold action to address the housing crisis by building 1.5 million homes by 2031. The plan also has measures to reduce municipal charges for housing providers looking to build non-profit and affordable housing.