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How government can help

All levels of government

1. Convene an ongoing, joint planning table with sector partners in the Growth Plan.

1.1 All levels of government, including multiple ministries and divisions, need to come together with sector leadership to coordinate planning and resources to drive implementation of the Growth Plan. This table would work collaboratively to:

  • Identify opportunities for all levels of government to make under-utilized and vacant land available for new supportive housing.

  • Provide capital grants for development and acquisition.

  • Design funding and financing streams, RFPs, and other tools to incentivize collaboration among providers, and to promote partnerships with and leadership from agencies led by and serving members of racialized communities (including agencies not traditionally considered supportive housing providers). 

  • Harmonize waitlists and access systems, and equip them with more leverage to collaboratively match clients with housing and supports.

  • Address the disconnect between the timing of municipal/federal housing opportunities and provincial support dollars.

  • Expand the Canada Ontario Housing Benefit and deepen affordability levels.

2. Resource Indigenous-led solutions. 

2.1 Create Indigenous-specific allocations of 20% within all budgets and funding for the expansion of supportive housing, and give Indigenous communities discretion over how funds are spent.

City of Toronto

1. Prioritize supportive housing in existing programs and planning processes.

1.1 In order to minimize delays and reduce costs for providers, the Housing Secretariat should work with City Planning to create separate, streamlined planning and approval processes for new supportive housing developments, redevelopments, and acquisitions — including supporting applications where rezoning is required and assisting with costs.


1.2 City Planning should enable a higher proportion of one-bedroom units for supportive housing, where the vast majority of clients are single people.


1.3 Revise the Housing Now program to include a) Explicit supportive housing targets, b) Terms and conditions suitable to non-profits, in line with directions the City has already taken in this area; c) More direct and indirect financial support for projects that will be owned by non-profits, and d) Housing allowances for supportive Housing Now units.


1.4 Offer municipal loan guarantees to help the sector access financing.

Provincial government

1. Identify required resources.

1.1 Conduct a funding analysis through the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario to determine capital and operating budget requirements for the Growth Plan.

2. Increase depth of rent subsidy and index funding.

2.1 Align rent supplement levels with Toronto’s housing market and increase rent supplements to equal the gap between ODSP maximum monthly shelter allowance and market rent, as current ODSP rates are lower than they were in 1990 when inflation is accounted for.

3. Grow with the sector.

2.1 Commit to funding net new rent supplements and supports, to walk in lockstep with the sector as it grows stock.


2.2 Reinstate provincial leadership in capital investment, similarly to the province’s past roles in programs like Investment in Affordable Housing.

4. Free up the sector to lead creative, collaborative solutions. 

4.1 Provide flexibility in funding agreements, program eligibility, and reporting requirements to enable providers to work collaboratively to allocate resources to where they are needed most.

4.2 Allow providers to terminate operating agreements early in order to reprofile or strategically divest from a building and leverage value towards new supply.


4.3 Commit to providing rent supplements at the end of operating agreements, at levels sufficient to meet the depth of affordability needed and ensure the sustainability of projects.


4.4 Fund the creation of a Housing Stabilization Flex Fund — a shared pool of support resources for the sector to jointly allocate for people at risk of eviction or to establish stable tenancies after being discharged from hospitals, corrections, or the child welfare system.


4.5 Create a stream within housing benefit programs for clients who are ready to move on from supportive housing but still require affordability support.

5. Invest in innovation.

5.1 Fund the creation of a mobile peer support network to provide all clients with access to peer support workers, regardless of their primary service provider. Peer support is an evidence-based and cost-effective way to reduce reliance on clinical supports and equip clients to establish stability.

6. Promote the safety of racialized and vulnerable people. 

6.1 Fund alternatives to policing responses to mental health crises. 

Federal government

1. Address the needs of Indigenous communities in Toronto. 

1.1 Work with Indigenous leadership to develop, fund, and implement a national Indigenous Housing Strategy with an urban Indigenous housing component. 

2. Emphasize supportive housing in existing funding and financing programs. 

2.1 Make supportive housing eligible and prioritized in scoring criteria for all National Housing Strategy programs.


2.2 Provide funding in the National Housing Co-Investment Fund that is sufficient to produce supportive housing in Toronto.

3. Help create supportive housing through the preservation of existing rental stock.

3.1 Develop an acquisition fund to enable the sector to acquire existing rental buildings. This fund should have equivalent interest rates to the RCFI and Co-Investment Fund. This will preserve critical affordable stock on which supportive housing clients currently rely (with private landlords), and which can over time be made available to more supportive housing clients.

4. Expand Reaching Home. 

4.1. Increase resources through Reaching Home for rent supplement and support models, to expand Housing First approaches to supportive housing. Housing First with multi-disciplinary teams is demonstrated to be effective for the majority of people experiencing homelessness.

5. Facilitate harm reduction approaches in supportive housing.

5.1 Facilitate and streamline applications from supportive housing providers for onsite supervised consumption services.

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