Email this pageLocal Plans and Accountability
Municipalities have a central role in coordinating housing services in their communities. Through new legislation, the Housing Services Act, 2011, the Long-Term Strategy requires Service Managers to create comprehensive, multi-year plans for local housing and homelessness services and to report on progress. These plans are required to be in place by January 1, 2014.
Through local planning, Service Managers have a more active, strategic role in working with others in local communities to identify priorities and set a course of action to address these priorities. These plans provide the foundation for the consolidation of housing and homelessness programs. Program consolidation, together with other initiatives under the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy will provide municipalities with more flexibility, enabling them to direct housing and homeless resources more effectively to where they are needed most.
Local plans are required to reflect key provincial interests. High level provincial interests are also set out in the new legislation, and the Ontario Housing Policy Statement provides additional policy context and direction to Service Managers to support the development of locally relevant plans.
When developing local plans, municipalities are required to consult with the public and their community housing partners. There will also be a requirement for municipalities to report annually to the public on the progress of these plans. These plans are to guide local housing services for at least 10 years and need to be reviewed at least every five years.
Key components include:
- Assessing the community’s current and future housing and homelessness needs
- Establishing objectives and targets to meet local needs
- Describing the measures proposed to meet the objectives and targets
- Setting out performance measures that will show how objectives and targets will be measured
The Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) and the Province of Ontario have launched a Housing and Homelessness Resource Centre to assist Service Managers in developing Local Housing and Homelessness Plans. OMSSA and the Province are working in partnership with the Housing Services Corporation, the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and the City of Toronto to develop and implement the Centre.
In addition to establishing key provincial interests, the province will work with Service Managers to develop key housing metrics that municipalities will be required to report on to ensure consistent tracking of how outcomes are being met. As there are currently numerous reporting requirements with different reporting cycles and frequencies, the province will work with Service Managers to streamline these requirements and develop an easier system for Service Managers and housing providers.
To further support the strategy’s emphasis on measuring and demonstrating results, the Province will use a series of performance indicators to report annually on province-wide progress on housing and homelessness:
- The Ontario Housing Measure, which is used in the Poverty Reduction Strategy. It measures the percentage of households with children under 18 with incomes below 40 per cent of the median household income and paying more than 40 per cent of their income on housing.
- The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s annual Rental Affordability Indicator measures changes in the affordability of Ontario’s 10 largest rental markets over time.
- Social Housing Tenant Satisfaction Surveys will seek social housing residents’ views about their housing and inform housing providers, municipalities and the province on how we can improve.
- Service Managers will report on a series of measures to track progress in meeting local needs across the housing continuum.
Through these plans, and the strong accountability framework that supports them, clear linkages will be established across the entire spectrum of housing and homelessness programs, from homelessness prevention and support systems, to social and affordable housing. Long-term, community-based housing plans will support more locally responsive, integrated and accountable services.
Provincial-Municipal Housing Partnership Table
A Provincial-Municipal Housing Partnership Table has been established with representatives from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the City of Toronto. It provides a forum for senior officials from provincial and municipal governments to discuss the delivery of housing services in Ontario, such as:
- the implementation of the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy
- the administration of social housing
- the development and implementation of housing programs and policy
- the coordination and consolidation of programs and funding
- the relative roles of the province and municipal Service Managers.