Ontario Increasing Homelessness Prevention Support for Indigenous People
Additional investment will provide safe and secure housing for Indigenous populations across the province
May 16, 2023
Municipal Affairs and Housing
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Toronto — The Ontario government is investing an additional $2.9 million for the Miziwe Biik Development Corporation – for a total of $10.4 million annually – to support homelessness prevention efforts in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) through the province’s Indigenous Supportive Housing Program (ISHP).
This funding is part of Ontario’s historic $202 million increase in homelessness prevention funding through the 2023 Budget, for a total of $695 million annually. Of this total, approximately $41.5 million is being distributed through the ISHP: $10.4 million through Miziwe Biik Development Corporation and $31.1 million through Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS). The remaining $653.9 million is being distributed to service managers across the province through the Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP).
“Today’s announcement demonstrates our government’s commitment to tackling homelessness in Ontario and ending the housing supply crisis,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “I’m grateful to Miziwe Biik and Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services for the fantastic work they do providing safe and secure housing to Indigenous people in Ontario, and I’m proud that our government has been able to deliver this timely and historic support.”
Established in 2004, Miziwe Biik Development Corporation serves the Indigenous community in the GTA with funding opportunities for affordable rental development including supportive housing, down payment assistance for homeownership, and rental supports and services through community partnerships and programs.
Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services provides Indigenous-led, culturally appropriate long-term housing solutions and support services to Indigenous people experiencing or at risk of homelessness outside the GTA.
“Along with improving access to transit, quality jobs and services in urban centres, our government is improving access to safe housing while supporting homelessness prevention,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “We are confident that this investment will result in better outcomes for urban Indigenous populations, and we thank Miziwe Biik and the Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services for their continued partnership as we invest in communities across the province.”
“Miziwe Biik Development Corporation values the relationship we have built with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing,” said Nancy Martin, President of Miziwe Biik Development Corporation. “Their ongoing support for Indigenous housing in the GTA has led to increasing housing stock. Increased housing transforms the economic outlook of the Indigenous community in the GTA, as a foundation for better opportunities and a better quality of life.”
“Miziwe Biik Development Corporation gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in their provision of housing programs that align with the unique housing needs of the GTA’s Indigenous community,” said Lorna Lawrence, Executive Director of Miziwe Biik Development Corporation. “Flexibility to develop housing and provide supports and services that enhance housing stability enables us to address housing gaps and provide long-term housing solutions.”
In addition to reducing costs in other sectors, supportive housing provides people in Ontario with an opportunity to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives. Ontario will continue to support the most vulnerable by providing supportive housing and homelessness prevention services to help those most in need.
“During a time of economic challenges and change, our government is supporting those who have fallen on hard times and are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, homelessness. Ontario’s 2023 Budget: Building a Strong Ontario is the right plan to support those who need it the most today while laying a strong fiscal foundation for future generations.” – Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance.
“Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services is extremely grateful for this substantial, increased investment in people from the Ford government. Supportive housing is a proactive investment that helps Indigenous people and all people who need a hand-up. When we help each other, we help everyone. Chi’ Miigwetch Minister Clark, Minister Rickford, Minister Bethlenfalvy, and Associate Minister Tangri for your positive and remarkable action!” – Justin Marchand, CEO, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services
“The best way to support those experiencing homelessness is to provide long-term pathways to stable homes through affordable and supportive housing. I applaud the Government of Ontario’s efforts to develop a meaningful action plan in collaboration with Indigenous partners that will help reduce homelessness and provide greater support for urban Indigenous populations.” – Jennifer McKelvie, Deputy Mayor of Toronto
“This increased funding provides culturally appropriate housing assistance and support services to Indigenous people who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. I am proud of our government’s commitment to address the needs of our province’s most vulnerable residents. This funding is going to make a difference in the lives of so many. We are pleased to make this investment because we know that when communities thrive, Ontario can thrive.” – Nina Tangri, Associate Minister, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
“Our government’s increased funding for homelessness prevention recognizes and responds to the unique needs of Indigenous people in Ontario. I am proud that our historic increase in funding will be distributed in a manner that is fair, balanced and accurately reflects local need.” – Kevin Holland, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs
- Through the Community Housing Renewal Strategy, response to COVID-19 and homelessness initiatives, over the past three years Ontario invested nearly $4.4 billion for community and supportive housing while addressing homelessness and the impacts of the pandemic for vulnerable Ontarians.
- In 2022, the government introduced the More Homes Built Faster Act, which takes bold action to address the housing crisis by building 1.5 million homes by 2031. The plan also has measures to reduce municipal charges for housing providers looking to build non-profit and affordable housing for vulnerable Ontarians.
- The Government of Ontario has made supportive housing and homelessness prevention a top priority, in recognition that people on limited incomes are often on the front lines of the housing supply crisis. Over the last five years, Ontario introduced four housing supply action plans, including the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act, along with a variety of other legislation and policies aimed at getting shovels in the ground faster to support new homes of all types.
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