As part of the renewed Poverty Reduction Strategy, the provincial government committed to ending chronic homelessness in Ontario. Yesterday, the government released “A Place to Call Home”, the final report of their Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness. The report describes the complexity of the problem and outlines a number of recommendations, including some that propose local action by municipal governments and District Social Service Administration Boards (DSSABs). One example is to conduct an enumeration of local homeless populations.

The Province is committing to a number of immediate and long-term actions in response to the report. Most significantly, the government announced that it would set a target to end chronic homelessness in ten years. In addition, the following immediate next steps will be taken:

  • providing up to $10 million over two years in targeted funding from the Local Poverty
  • Reduction Fund to help prevent and end homelessness across the province
  • adopting the recommended definition of homelessness, including chronic
  • homelessness, to build common language and understanding about the problem
  • planning to require enumeration at the local level to gather data about homelessness
  • prioritizing provincial action to reduce homelessness in four areas: youth, Aboriginal, and chronic homelessness, as well as homelessness following transitions from provincially-funded institutions and service systems, such as jails and hospitals.
AMO is ready to work with the government on a number of policy fronts to help achieve the goal of ending chronic homelessness. It is a complex issue with overlapping responsibilities – from income support and employment programs to affordable housing, and more. To further the goal of ending chronic homelessness in ten years, continued provincial investment in housing and homelessness prevention programs are needed to support local actions such as enumerating the homeless population and finding people housing. Increasing the supply of affordable housing must also be part of the plan. AMO looks forward to the government releasing their updated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy in the near future. It is expected that the strategy will include measures to both sustain and expand the housing system.

AMO’s Affordable Housing and Homelessness Task Force will further consider the implications of the report and its recommendations to provide timely advice to the AMO Board of Directors.

For more information, please see the advisory group report and the government backgrounder.
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