Ontario recently eliminated the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB). The CSUMB helped people receiving social assistance to pay for large or unexpected housing-related costs, supporting them to become and remain housed.
As of January 1, 2013, the CSUMB ended and 50 percent of its funding was passed to municipalities as part of a consolidation of housing programs. The decision to eliminate the CSUMB caused significant community concern across the province. In late December, the government announced one-time transitional funding of $42 million to create a buffer for municipalities to plan for their longer-term housing needs.
In 2012, the Wellesley Institute partnered with income security, housing, and health experts to analyze the health and health equity impacts of the elimination of the CSUMB.
Now, the Wellesley Institute and the Income Security Advocacy Centre are partnering to track the impacts of the loss of the CSUMB across Ontario by asking municipal, community, and other staff working with clients who would have been eligible for the CSUMB to describe their situations through a survey tool.
Collecting these issues will help municipalities, community providers, and policy analysts to assess the implications of the program cuts. This information will also help to illustrate to the Province that eliminating the CSUMB will have real impacts on the housing and health of Ontarians. The lessons that we learnt from cutting the CSUMB will also need to be analyzed as the government considers reforming the social assistance system and other social policies and programs.