About 100 community-based housing and homelessness leaders from across Ontario will gather in Toronto on Monday for a provincial forum hosted by the newly created Housing Network of Ontario. Full updates on the day’s proceedings, plus info on the upcoming Ontario housing consultation, will be posted here, where you can also find links to key resources and share your housing stories. The Wellesley Institute has been the catalyst for the HNO, which includes among its partners all the major provincial housing organizations, plus a variety of other provincial and local groups. The network is preparing for the Ontario government’s province-wide affordable housing consultation, starting in the late spring, which represents an important, perhaps even historic, opportunity to secure the funding, legislation, regulations, programs, services and other commitments that will add up to a truly comprehensive provincial housing plan.
The morning session is devoted to signing off on a declaration of principles, and sharing the key elements of a provincial housing plan. The afternoon is devoted to developing a province-wide action plan to wring the most value out of the upcoming consultation session. The community leaders will then go back to their home communities and prepare for the consultations by strengthening local housing groups, arranging for meetings with MPPs and regional cabinet ministers, conducting local public education initiatives and doing media work – all designed to raise the profile of housing issues and solutions in advance of the consultation. There are a number of active partners joining with the Wellesley Institute in this initiative, including the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada – Ontario Region, Social Planning Network of Ontario, 25-in-5 Network for Poverty Reduction, Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness, local housing and social justice networks in more than two dozen communities across the province, plus strong support from municipal politicians and local housing officials across Ontario.