Recommendations for Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy
Last spring, the Province began the process of updating Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy (LTAHS) which was first published in 2010. The update of the LTAHS follows the release of the provincial poverty reduction strategy, in which the government made a commitment to end homelessness.
The LTAHS update includes a stronger and more compelling Provincial vision for affordable housing in Ontario, which is now stated as:
“Every person has an affordable, suitable and adequate home to provide the foundation to secure employment, raise a family, and build strong communities.”
The consultation guide, which the government used to solicit feedback from sector stakeholder and the public, was structured around four priority areas:
- Sustainable supply of affordable housing
- Fair system of housing assistance
- System based on evidence and best practices
- Coordinated accessible support services
We’ve heard that the Province received more than 100 submissions from sector stakeholders and the public. They are also holding in-person consultations with key stakeholders, including ONPHA, to help further refine their recommendations and next steps.
ONPHA member recommendations
ONPHA’s submission to the Province for the LTAHS update is available on our website. To prepare it, we consulted members and reviewed past recommendations to government. Two priorities for us were simplifying the rent-geared-to-income (RGI) model and vulnerable tenancies.
First proposed in the 2010 strategy, efforts to simplify RGI in Ontario appeared to have stalled for several years. We believe that improving the RGI system is critical not just for our members, but also for the future of Ontario’s housing assistance system. It’s unlikely that the RGI system will be expanded – we need to focus on making it as efficient for recipients, applicants and administrators. Check out the research that led to our RGI-related recommendations.
The Province’s commitment to end homelessness and our members’ feedback to us about the increasingly complex needs of some tenants drove us to commission research into our members’ experience supporting vulnerable tenancies. We focused on non-supportive housing, because unlike supportive housing providers, most non-supportive housing providers do not receive additional funding from government to provide tenancy-related support.
We’ve heard from members that helping tenants with mental health, addiction or age-related health issues is taking up an increasing amount of their time and that they have concerns about the availability of appropriate support services in their community. We interviewed housing providers, homelessness and housing first experts, service managers, and local health integration networks to clarify the issues and develop recommendations. Those recommendations are reflected in our LTAHS submission and our report on vulnerable tenants is slated for release in the fall.
We look forward to continuing our work with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as they continue their work developing the strategy. The LTAHS update is currently scheduled for release this fall, at which point ONPHA will release its analysis of the strategy’s impact on the sector.