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Piloting a Portable Housing Benefit for Survivors of Domestic Violence

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Through the updated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy , Ontario is launching a pilot program to help survivors of domestic violence find safe and affordable housing beyond traditional social housing assistance.

What’s New

Currently, survivors of domestic violence are given priority access to rent geared-to-income (RGI) social housing.

Under the pilot program, survivors would have access to an additional option to receive a portable housing benefit so they can immediately find housing in their community. 

A portable housing benefit is a housing allowance provided to a low-income household to help with housing costs. The subsidy gives a household the freedom to choose where to live since it is not tied to a specific unit like most RGI social housing.

The program will initially be piloted in three communities (to be determined). Based on the outcomes of the pilot, the province will consider ways to enhance the Special Priority Policy and extend the potential benefits of this approach. 
This pilot aligns with Ontario’s action plan to end sexual violence and harassment.


Ontario is investing more than $17 million over three years to pilot a portable housing benefit targeted towards survivors of domestic violence that would eventually assist up to 3,000 survivors, growing from $2.5 million in 2016/17 to $10 million in 2018/19.


The pilot program will achieve a number of outcomes. 

  • Support survivors: The pilot will ensure people fleeing domestic violence obtain and retain housing.
  • Expand support for Special Priority Policy applicants: The program will provide applicants with more immediate financial assistance to find housing of their choice.
  • Decrease wait times for housing assistance for Special Priority Policy households and other people on the social housing wait list.