ONPHA releases 2016 budget submissions
It’s currently budget season in Ottawa and at Queen’s Park. In order to ensure that affordable and social housing are top of mind for both the Feds and the Province, ONPHA has developed federal and provincial budget submissions.
During the election last October, housing emerged as a key issue for voters across Canada. Our federal budget submission references the commitments that were made during the campaign, including the Liberals’ $20 billion investment in social infrastructure. We recommend that a significant percentage of this funding be directed towards increasing the supply of affordable rental housing, and tackling the capital repair backlog in social housing properties.
The submission also recommends continued support for non-profit and co-operative housing providers that are reaching the end of their operating agreements with the federal government. By funding rent supplements and capital repair programs for these providers, the Ottawa will ensure that over 600,000 households do not lose their homes. We also ask the Feds to direct the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to once again take an active role in developing affordable housing, and that federal funding for homelessness initiatives be increased.
In our submission to the Ontario Government, we recognized that some provincial actions are contingent on federal funding commitments. Still, there is a great deal that can be done to support the affordable and social housing sector at the provincial level. The Province should contribute its surplus land to affordable housing development, and should prioritize non-profit ownership and operation of new rental housing. Like the federal government, the Province must also provide funding for the capital repair backlog in social housing properties in order to retain these valuable public assets.
Looking beyond bricks and mortar, the Province should provide dedicated funding for support services in social housing communities. ONPHA’s recent research has demonstrated the depth of the need for support services in our members’ communities, and the serious consequences of unsupported tenancies. With this in mind, we also recommend that the Province increase the supply of supportive housing units across Ontario.
ONPHA’s members also need help in order to meet new safety requirements. For housing providers that have been designated as “care occupancies”, a capital repair program should be established to fund the modifications to bring these properties into compliance. At the same time, the Ministry of Community and Social Services should increase funding for supportive housing providers to accurately reflect their operating costs.
Both the federal and provincial governments have an active role to play in ensuring that all families have access to a safe and secure place to call “home”. ONPHA’s 2016 budget submissions articulate this responsibility, and provide practical policy recommendations on how to get there.