Ontario Increasing Support for Homelessness Prevention in Waterloo Region
Province’s additional investment will help people at risk or experiencing homelessness
NEWS April 11, 2023
WATERLOO REGION — The Ontario government is investing an additional $202 million annually in the province’s Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supporting Housing Program, bringing Ontario’s total yearly investment in these programs to close to $700 million. This includes $17,817,500, a funding increase of $3,522,600, or 25% up for 2023-2024 from 2022-2023 for the Region of Waterloo. The additional funding will help those experiencing or at risk of homelessness and support community organizations delivering supportive housing.
“This funding increase represents Ontario’s commitment and focus on service delivery where our vulnerable communities need it most,” said Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga. “A 25% increase means the Region of Waterloo will be able to work with the province and our local service providers and offer much-needed assistance and wrap-around care to those who are at-risk of or experiencing homelessness.”
“This increase in funding is great news for Waterloo Region as all levels of government and our community partners work together to support our most vulnerable residents,” said Brian Riddell, MPP for Cambridge. “This investment by our government will help secure safe and supportive housing for those in need as well as meet the complex needs of those experiencing homelessness.”
“Thank you to the provincial government for this important funding which will help to support the good work being done by so many service providers, volunteers and municipal staff across our region,” said Karen Redman, Chair, Region of Waterloo. “The Region of Waterloo looks forward to further collaboration with the community and the government as we launch our Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and continue to implement our Interim Housing Solutions strategy.”
“Today’s Budget 2023 local announcement will increase Homelessness Prevention Program funding by 25% or more than $3.5 million in the City of Kitchener and other area municipalities, which will help the Region fund the growing needs experienced by vulnerable residents in our community,” said Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of the City of Kitchener. “Thank you to Premier Ford, Ministers Bethlenfalvy and Clark, and the Ontario government for listening to the concerns raised by Ontario’s Big City Mayors and responding with meaningful increases, which I believe will improve outcomes and, in some cases, save lives.”
“Today’s announcement is welcome news for Waterloo Region. Over the past few years, we have witnessed first-hand the devastating cost of homelessness – both on the individuals who are enduring it and on our community as a whole,” said John Neufeld, Executive Director of House of Friendship. “By investing $17.8 million locally, the province of Ontario is providing more tools and support for our region to address this complex and challenging issue, to help individuals leave homelessness behind for good.”
The additional funding, announced in the 2023 Budget, represents a 40 percent increase in funding by the government to support the most vulnerable by providing supportive housing and homelessness prevention services. Under the $202 million, $190.5 million each year will be allocated to the Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP), which gives Ontario’s 47 Service Managers greater flexibility to allocate funding and make better use of existing resources to focus on delivering supports.
The remaining $11.5 million each year will be invested in the Indigenous Supportive Housing Program (ISHP), which provides Indigenous-led, culturally appropriate long-term housing solutions and support services to Indigenous people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
“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.”
“During a time of economic challenges and change, our government is supporting those who have fallen on hard times and are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, homelessness,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Ontario’s 2023 Budget: Building a Strong Ontario is the right plan to support those who need it the most today while laying a strong fiscal foundation for future generations.”
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 rising inflation, and to help ensure that no service manager receives a decrease in funding compared to 2022-23 as a result 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 this past 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 to support housing providers that help vulnerable Ontarians each and every day.”
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 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.
|Organization || Funding|| |
|2022-23 Allocation||% Increase||2023-24 HPP Allocation||Funding Increase|
|Regional Municipality of Waterloo||14,294,900||25%||17,817,500||3,522,600|
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 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 for vulnerable Ontarians.