The Ontario government announced today that it would provide transitional funding of $42 million in 2013-14 for municipalities to develop and implement their consolidated housing and homelessness plans, which will set out how each muncipality addresses their local housing needs.
The Wellesley Institute and community groups from across the province have been calling on the government to reconsider its decision to eliminate the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB). The CSUMB helps people receiving social assistance to pay for large or unexpected housing-related costs, supporting them to become and remain housed. As of January 1st, this benefit was to be terminated and 50 percent of its funding was going to be passed to municipalities to run their own housing and homelessness programs.
Today’s announcement does not restore the CSUMB, but it ensures that municipalities will be supported in 2013 to provide housing and homelessness services to people on social assistance and other low income Ontarians. Municipalities will be developing their own housing and homelessness plans in 2013, so today’s announcement provides a critical buffer for municipalities to plan for their longer-term housing needs.
We congratulate the Ontario government for stepping up to the plate with today’s announcement.