The Ontario government is providing more than $1 billion dollars in 2019-20 to help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson announced on Thursday. The government also revealed a new Community Housing Renewal Strategy, outlining its plan to transform what Thompson called “a fragmented and inefficient system” into one that is “more streamlined, sustainable and ready to help people” who need it most. “Our government believes families shouldn’t have to live in buildings with crumbling walls, leaking roofs and broken elevators,” she said in a statement. “We will work with the province and nonprofits to address issues like safety, overcrowding and long wait lists.” Thompson said Ontario’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy includes early steps to improve community housing across the province. That involves encouraging tenants to seek opportunities at school and work by removing existing penalties for working more hours or going to college or university; making rent more predictable by simplifying rent calculations; freeing up the waitlist by having tenants prioritize their first choice and accept the first unit they are offered, while allowing service managers flexibility to make exceptions in extenuating circumstances. Thompson said stops also include protecting tenants who receive child support payments by ensuring their rent is not impacted by payments; making housing available to those who truly need it by requiring an asset test; andmaking housing safer by empowering housing providers to turn away tenants who have been evicted for criminal activity. Bruce and Huron counties will receive funding in four areas. Bruce County will receive $287,300 and Huron County will receive $251,800 from Investment in Affordable Housing in Ontario (2014 Extension). Bruce will receive $625,441 and Huron will receive $548,392 from the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative. The province will allocate $474,200 to Bruce County and $367,100 to Huron County through the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative and $58,387 to Bruce and $29,106 to Huron through the Canada Ontario Community Housing Initiative. “Many people believe homelessness and housing shortages are just urban issues, but that is simply not the case,” Thompson said. “My constituency offices in Kincardine and Blyth deal with this on a regular basis. I know these funds will help alleviate the problem and provide assistance to those who need it most.”
By Barb McKay.
Tabling its first budget last week, the Ontario government has made it crystal clear that it will do what it takes to eliminate the provincial deficit and aims to balance the budget in five years. That, of course, means cuts in several departments, but there are also some investments being made that benefit rural residents and communities. Education Minister and HuronBruce MPP Lisa Thompson spoke to The Independent in a phone call shortly after the 2019 provincial budget was delivered and said she feels very confident that people will recognize that the government is putting them first. The budget contains no new tax increases. “Protecting what matters most re
ally comes forward in this budget,” she said. “We need a responsible pathway to balance the budget.”
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