A housing benefit would provide monthly support to help low-income tenants close the gap between their incomes and the cost of their rent. Four provinces in Canada have already successfully implemented a similar program to help support those on low incomes.
Affordability Matters – People struggling with hunger cannot reach their full potential. If people can better afford their rent, it will be easier for them to afford food. A housing benefit given to help cover rent costs would help many to be able to both pay their rent AND put food on the table, whether they are receiving social assistance or working.
Opportunity Matters – Many benefits people receive from social assistance are taken away, or “clawed back” from the next month if extra income is received from employment. This has been shown to create serious barriers for the transition from welfare to work, because people don’t have a chance to get ahead and are often at a serious disadvantage. A housing benefit as proposed would not be subject to clawbacks, giving a “hand up” by offering extended financial support during this transition period. Help during this transition period enables opportunity, and can enable independence.
Community Matters – People not only need to live somewhere they can afford, but also live near work, schools, and essential services. A housing benefit can allow people to have more of a choice of where they are able to live, as the benefit is paid directly to the tenant. A housing benefit can also recognize that the cost of rent varies across the province, which current benefits do not.
Contact your MPP, and tell them Housing Matters and to endorse an Ontario housing benefit. Find your local MPP.
Housing facts in Ontario:
1 in 5 Ontario tenant households spend 50% of their income on rent. Paying anything over 50% puts people at a high risk of homelessness.
On average, food bank clients pay 71% of their income on housing.
152,000 Ontario households are on social housing waiting lists.