TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing municipalities and urban Indigenous community partners with an additional $150 million to continue to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19 by improving homeless shelters and creating opportunities for longer-term housing. This investment more than doubles the funding currently flowing to local municipal service managers and urban Indigenous program administrators through the Social Services Relief Fund.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford and Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
"We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our municipal and Indigenous community partners to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are protected during these difficult times," said Premier Ford. "Today's investment builds on our collective efforts to help people get back on their feet quickly and recover from this global crisis. We will continue to be a champion for our municipal partners with the federal government to ensure a strong recovery for communities across the province."
Municipalities and urban Indigenous community partners will be able to use this funding for long-term, innovative housing solutions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. They can renovate shelters or purchase new facilities that will help with physical distancing in the short term and support longer-term, more sustainable solutions to homelessness. In addition, this funding could also be used to provide vulnerable people with food, shelter and supplies.
The funding is another way that Ontario is coming to the table to support municipalities as it continues to work with provincial partners and the federal government on municipal supports through the federal government's proposed Safe Restart Framework.
"We know that municipal and Indigenous partners are facing extraordinary challenges due to this global pandemic," said Minister Clark. "That's why we continue to step up to provide financial support and other measures to help our local partners. This investment is another step our government is taking to protect our most vulnerable, but we know more needs to be done. We continue to work closely with our federal and municipal partners to ensure communities across Ontario have the support they need."
With this additional funding, the government is providing municipal service managers and urban Indigenous program administrators with $350 million through the Social Services Relief Fund. This builds on the support being delivered as part of the COVID-19 Action Plan to Protect Vulnerable Ontarians. The action plan provides enhanced screening and testing in high-risk settings such as shelters and homes, including for those with developmental disabilities, and provides personal protective equipment and training so staff will know what to do in the event of an outbreak.
"The Government's Social Services Relief Fund was an immediate response to COVID-19 related municipal costs when it was announced in March. The initial $148 million literally saved lives in communities across Ontario," said Jamie McGarvey, President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. "The additional $150 million announced today will help offset the added costs of addressing homelessness and protecting the most vulnerable from COVID-19."
- In March, Ontario announced an initial investment of $148 million to support municipalities, food banks, homeless shelters and individuals. This funding is already helping individuals and families in financial crisis.
- Another $52 million expanded the Emergency Assistance program administered through Ontario Works for people in emergency situations and made more support available to vulnerable social assistance recipients to meet a broad range of needs.
- Learn more about Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
- Learn more about COVID-19 Action Plan to Protect Vulnerable Ontarians.
- Find your local Service Manager to see what housing supports are available in your community.