P.C. Bill Walker following election results as they come in. (Photo by Kirk Scott)

$4.4M to address affordable housing and homelessness in Grey Bruce

Grey and Bruce counties are receiving more than $4.4 million in funding to help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness.

The Ontario government is investing a total of $1 billion in 2019-2020 in the effort across the province.

In this announcement, Grey County is receiving a total of $2,982,221 and Bruce County will receive $1,445,328.

Grey County is getting $431,500 in funding from the Investment in Affordable Housing in Ontario program, $1,816,494 in funding from the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative, $723,600 from the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative and $10,627 from the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative.

Bruce County is getting $287,300 in funding from the Investment in Affordable Housing in Ontario program, $625,441 in funding from the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative, $474,200 from the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative and $58,387 from the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative.

“This week our government revealed the province’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy, outlining our plan to transform a fragmented and inefficient system into one that is more streamlined, sustainable and ready to help people who need it most,” said Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker.

“In everything we do – whether it’s a program, policy or service change – we put the experience of real people first,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark. “Our Community Housing Renewal Strategy will help to sustain, repair and grow our community housing system so that all Ontarians can find a home that meets their needs.”

“Our government believes Ontario families shouldn’t have to live in buildings with crumbling walls, leaking roofs and broken elevators,” said Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker. “I’m happy to see these investments in our community. The housing system was neglected for years by the previous government. We are providing more than $1 billion to help sustain, repair and grow community housing in Ontario to support our most vulnerable.”

Ontario’s new Community Housing Renewal Strategy includes early steps to improve community housing across the province:

· Encouraging tenants to seek opportunities at school and work by removing existing penalties for working more hours or going to college or university;

· Making rent more predictable by simplifying rent calculations;

· Freeing up the waitlist by having tenants prioritize their first choice and accept the first unit they are offered, while allowing Service Managers flexibility to make exceptions in extenuating circumstances;

· Protecting tenants who receive child support payments by ensuring their rent is not impacted by payments;

· Making housing available to those who truly need it by requiring an asset test;

· Making housing safer by empowering housing providers to turn away tenants who have been evicted for criminal activity.