Pilot project to boost housing options for those at risk

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Ontario is launching a new pilot program in 22 communities across the province to increase affordable housing options for survivors of domestic violence and their families.

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing more than $20 million over two years in the Survivors of Domestic Violence Portable Housing Benefit Pilot, which will provide ongoing assistance to approximately 1,000 survivors of domestic violence per year.

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said: “Our government is committed to working with the Province of Ontario to develop and implement solutions to housing. This new pilot program recognizes the need for local solutions to housing challenges for victims of domestic violence.”

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Currently, survivors of domestic violence are given priority access to rent-geared-to-income social housing. Survivors enrolled in the new pilot program will have the option to receive a portable housing benefit, so that they can immediately find housing in their community instead of waiting for a social housing unit to become available.

Based on the outcomes of the pilot, Ontario will consider ways to enhance the program and extend the portable housing benefit to other communities.

Providing the right housing and supports is key in preventing and reducing homelessness and helping people achieve housing stability. Supportive housing assists a wide range of Ontarians with complex needs: seniors, people with physical and/or mental health issues, people with problematic substance use issues, survivors of domestic violence, at-risk youth, and others who may require additional supports.
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Chris Ballard, Ontario’s Minister of Housing, said: “Our government is committed to helping survivors of domestic violence escape unsafe situations. This pilot program is an important step in helping to ensure that survivors fleeing domestic violence can quickly obtain affordable and adequate housing of their choice in their community.”

The new investment complements the commitments made through Ontario’s recent Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy update and It’s Never Okay: Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment [PDF]]. It also supports the province’s goal of ending chronic homelessness in 10 years, and ending violence against women while providing better supports for survivors.

  • A portable housing benefit is a subsidy provided to a low-income household to help with housing costs. The subsidy gives a household the freedom to choose where to live, since it is not tied to a specific unit like most rent-geared-to-income social housing.
  • The 2016 Ontario Budget announced an investment of $178 million over three years to support the updated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy.
  • The additional funding for this pilot is part of a larger federal-provincial investment in social infrastructure spending that was announced in June. – CINEWS
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