In its 2012 budget, the Ontario government announced that it was eliminating the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) as of January 1, 2013. The CSUMB is designed to assist people receiving social assistance who have large or unexpected housing-related costs. Having access to this kind of immediate and flexible fund can often be the difference between getting a home and staying in a shelter or staying housed and losing one’s home. It can also be the critical support for people to leave abusive situations.
Access to housing that is safe and affordable is a key determinant of health and the cancellation of the CSUMB has the potential to increase the number of low income Ontarians who are precariously housed or who are homeless. This paper sets out some of the potential health implications of this decision through an equity lens.