Liberals announce two-year freeze of homelessness prevention funding

With Ontario’s funding for Toronto’s housing programs falling below that of the Harper government next year,  the government today announced a two year freeze of  funding under the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative. 

“Today, the government announced that its cuts to Toronto’s housing programs will remain cut, and funding for homelessness prevention will be frozen for two years,” said DiNovo, NDP GTA Issues critic and MPP for Parkdale-High Park.

In 2012, the government cut funding for municipal homelessness prevention programs with the elimination of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit. And in 2013, the Wynne government cut its funding for Toronto’s social housing programs, leaving an $86 million hole in Toronto’s budget in 2015, rising to $129 million next year.

As a result of these cuts, next year the Wynne government will contribute less to Toronto’s housing and homelessness prevention programs than the Harper government.

BACKGROUND:

  • In the 2012, the provincial government eliminated the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) and folded it into a new program called the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative. Only half of the funding under the CSUMB flowed into the new program (partially restored in the 2014 budget). In addition, funding for municipalities under the CHPI is no longer based on demand, but is capped, downloading significant risks onto municipalities, in the case of a sudden surge in demand for shelter or homelessness prevention programs. Finally, while the CSUMB was a mandatory program that allowed people to appeal a decision to deny benefits to the Social Benefits Tribunal, the CHPI is a discretionary program, and people cannot appeal a denial of benefits.
  • In 2013, the Wynne government announced the cancellation of the Toronto Pooling Compensation, which helped Toronto pay for its disproportionate social housing burden. This cut left an $86 million hole in Toronto’s budget in 2015, rising to $129 million next year
  • According to Toronto’s 2015 operating budget overview for Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (page 31), Toronto received only $176 million in provincial subsidies for housing and homelessness programs last year, down from $345 million in 2011.
  • Next year, the provincial government will contribute less funding for Toronto’s housing and homelessness programs than the Harper government.