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A Stronger Supportive Housing System for Ontario

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In support of Ontario’s updated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy (LTAHS), the government is transforming Ontario’s supportive housing system to help people in need get the right housing and supports, at the right time, in the right place. 

Supportive housing assists a wide range of Ontarians with complex needs: seniors, people with mental health and/or addiction issues, people with developmental disabilities, survivors of domestic violence, at-risk youth, and others who may need additional supports. A strong, supportive housing system is central to the goal of everyone having a suitable and affordable place to call home.

What’s New

Investments

To support its goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025, Ontario is increasing its previously announced operating funding for housing assistance and support services to $100 million annually, beginning in 2019-20. This will bring the total investment beginning in 2017 to $200 million by 2019-20, assisting up to 6,000 families and individuals.  

This investment is targeted to help people within four priority areas: youth, Indigenous, chronic homelessness, and homelessness following transitions from provincially-funded institutions and service systems, such as prisons and hospitals.

As part of this program, the government has also announced a dedicated investment targeted at reducing Indigenous homelessness. Indigenous people are significantly overrepresented among the homeless population and have higher rates of housing need compared to non-Indigenous Ontarians.  The province is investing $20 million in operating funding over the next two years to give Indigenous people better access to supportive housing, with the funding ramping up to $20 million annually by 2019-20. 

Transformation

Ontario is transforming the supportive housing system in a number of ways. 

Supportive Housing Policy Framework

The Supportive Housing Policy Framework will guide both provincial and local program improvements, and support co-ordination across sectors to enable clients to better access the housing assistance and support services they need.  

The framework also provides a foundation for new investments in supportive housing to help ensure that programs respond to people’s individual needs, and support social and economic inclusion.  The framework was developed through a collaborative process across ministries (Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ministry of Community and Social Services, Ministry of Children and Youth Services), and through engagement with people that live in supportive housing and a wide range of other stakeholders.

Best Practice Guide

The Best Practice Guide is a companion document to the Supportive Housing Policy Framework that informs people living in supportive housing of best practices and helps housing and service providers to strengthen service delivery and support better outcomes for people. 

Improving Access

Ontario will work to improve access to supportive housing programs and increase awareness about housing and homelessness programs and services.

Modernizing the Homes for Special Care Program

To better meet the needs of residents, Ontario will work with stakeholders to develop a plan to modernize the Homes for Special Care Program towards evidence-based, best practice supportive housing with a focus on supporting independence and recovery.

Developing Better Measurement Tools

Ontario will develop a set of common, outcomes-focused performance measures to better understand the impact of supportive housing programs, and to improve our ability to measure progress in meeting people’s needs. 

Outcomes

Combined, the steps Ontario is taking will lead to better health and social outcomes, and stability for people living in supportive housing.

  • A common vision: The Supportive Housing Policy Framework provides a common vision, principles and outcomes for supportive housing-related programs across different systems.
  • More responsive support: The new framework takes a whole-of-government-approach and promotes working with partners, so people will be able to find and apply for the housing and supports they need more quickly and easily.
  • Contributing to our goal of ending homelessness: Ontario’s investment in supportive housing will help up to 6,000  families and individuals stay stably housed and live as independently as possible in their communities.