National Housing DayPublished on November 22, 2020
November 22, 2020
TORONTO - Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, issued the following statement marking National Housing Day:
"On this special day I would like to acknowledge the important work done by our housing and homelessness partners across the province, and across the country, to support our most vulnerable and ensure they have a safe place to call home.
Our government is committed to tackling the housing pressures that have been building for years. We are actively working with our federal and municipal partners, investing in more affordable housing, expanding the community housing supply and addressing local housing needs.
We were the first province to sign on to the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit, which is making $1.4 billion available to help people in need pay their rent. This year we expect 5,200 Ontarians to receive direct payments, and we anticipate that number to grow in the future due to the hardship created by the pandemic.
When COVID-19 struck, we knew that we needed to take steps to protect the most vulnerable, including those in precarious housing situations. That's why we are providing $510 million to municipalities and Indigenous program partners through the Social Services Relief Fund. It can be used to help deliver critical supports - such as expanding shelter services, food banks, emergency services and rent supports - and encourage the development of longer-term, permanent solutions to homelessness.
Creating permanent housing is a priority for our government. That's why we developed a Community Housing Renewal Strategy to help address the high demand for housing and the stress on our community housing system. As part of the strategy, we are investing nearly $1 billion this year to help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness in Ontario.
This past July, our government passed Bill 184, the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, which lays the groundwork for us to empower our community housing providers, protect our existing housing stock and create new supply.
Our government will freeze rent in 2021 for rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled units, to give the vast majority of Ontario tenants some relief during these unprecedented times.
We are also supporting creative solutions to help more people find the housing they need. The new Veterans' Village that will be built in Kingston is one example of how Ontario is turning unused provincial properties into affordable housing. And I am encouraged that more communities are exploring modular supportive housing units. Our government wants to work with communities to ensure projects can begin quickly and more people can get a roof over their head.
Our government will continue to work closely with all of our partners to find innovative ways to help more people access the affordable housing and the supports they need today, and in the years to come."