ONTARIO INCREASING INVESTMENTS IN SUPPORTIVE HOUSING IN WATERLOO REGION
$127 million to support vulnerable populations at risk or experiencing homelessness across Ontario
WATERLOO REGION — The Ontario government has successfully negotiated with the federal government to provide over $127 million through a fifth round of the Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) that will add to rent banks, keep vulnerable Ontarians housed, and create long-term housing solutions in response to an increased need for services during COVID-19.
This round of funding includes $3,282,000 allocated to the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, which brings local SSRF support to a total of $30,569,063 for the region. Ontario’s investment through SSRF to date is nearly $1.2 billion, one of the most significant investments we have made in supportive housing and homelessness supports in the province’s history.
“The Social Services Relief Fund has successfully supported emergency shelter and long-term housing projects in Waterloo Region and across Ontario. I am very pleased to see the continuation of this funding in our community,” said Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga. “This new round of funding will ensure that Ontario continues its successful partnership with the Region of Waterloo and service operators to help vulnerable individuals in our great community.”
Earlier rounds of SSRF have supported projects with $8.5M for a new House of Friendship ShelterCare Centre in the City of Waterloo as well as a total of $7M for a 44 unit housing facility for OneROOF Youth Services in Kitchener.
“Our government’s Social Services Relief Fund is providing immediate housing and homelessness relief in communities across Ontario,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Supporting innovative solutions is critical as we work to keep our most vulnerable safe and housed, both during the pandemic and into the future.”
As highlighted in Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, today’s announcement is part of the province’s Social Services Relief Fund, which has provided nearly $1.2 billion of support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, to help municipalities and Indigenous program partners create longer-term housing solutions and help vulnerable Ontarians, including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The shortage of housing supply impacts all Ontarians, no matter their background or budget. The province’s ongoing work to increase the supply of market housing complements historic investments to increase the supply of supportive and affordable housing for the most vulnerable. As part of the consultations through the Community Housing Renewal Strategy, the government is working with service managers and housing providers to make community housing more efficient and sustainable – helping to protect essential community housing stock and ensure Ontario’s most vulnerable people remain housed.
“Access to affordable housing continues to be one of our community’s greatest challenges. Successive rounds of SSRF funding have allowed our region to move closer to delivering on our housing plan and building 2,500 affordable homes in 5 years,” said Region of Waterloo Chair, Karen Redman. “Thank you to MPP Harris and the provincial government for this timely investment in our community.”
- The province continues to advocate for municipalities to receive their fair share of funding from the federal government, which is underfunding Ontario by approximately $490 million under the National Housing Strategy and Reaching Home program. These additional revenues would flow to municipal service providers to ensure vulnerable Ontarians can access the housing they need.
- Beginning in 2022-23, Ontario’s combined investment through the Homelessness Prevention Program and the Indigenous Supportive Housing Program is almost $494 million. The investments can be used to fund the operation of supportive housing created through the Social Services Relief Fund, which is helping to create approximately 1,200 new supportive housing units.
- To inform Ontario’s More Homes for Everyone plan, the government conducted a three-part consultation with the public, municipalities and industry, including a report from the Housing Affordability Task Force that will serve as Ontario’s long-term housing roadmap.
Office of MPP Mike Harris