Ontario Establishes Portable Housing Benefit to Help Survivors of Domestic Violence

Pilot Program Increases Affordable Housing Options for Survivors and Their Families

September 9, 2016 12:00 P.M.Ministry of Housing
Ontario is launching a new pilot program in 22 communities across the province to increase affordable housing options for survivors of domestic violence and their families.
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing more than $20 million over two years in the Survivors of Domestic Violence Portable Housing Benefit Pilot, which will provide ongoing assistance to approximately 1,000 survivors of domestic violence per year.
Currently, survivors of domestic violence are given priority access to rent-geared-to-income social housing. Survivors enrolled in the new pilot program will have the option to receive a portable housing benefit, so that they can immediately find housing in their community instead of waiting for a social housing unit to become available.
Based on the outcomes of the pilot, Ontario will consider ways to enhance the program and extend the portable housing benefit to other communities.
The new investment complements the commitments made through Ontario's recent Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy update and It's Never Okay: Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment [PDF]. It also supports the province's goal of ending chronic homelessness in 10 years, and ending violence against women while providing better supports for survivors.
Quick Facts
A portable housing benefit is a subsidy provided to a low-income household to help with housing costs. The subsidy gives a household the freedom to choose where to live, since it is not tied to a specific unit like most rent-geared-to-income social housing.
The 2016 Ontario Budget announced an investment of $178 million over three years to support the updated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy.
The additional funding for this pilot is part of a larger federal-provincial investment in social infrastructure spending that was announced in June.
Background Information
Additional Resources
Canadians are invited to help shape the National Housing Strategy by joining the conversation on www.LetsTalkHousing.ca. Ideas will help shape the future of housing in Canada.
“Our government is committed to working with the Province of Ontario to develop and implement solutions to housing. This new pilot program recognizes the need for local solutions to housing challenges for victims of domestic violence.”
Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
“Our government is committed to helping survivors of domestic violence escape unsafe situations. This pilot program is an important step in helping to ensure that survivors fleeing domestic violence can quickly obtain affordable and adequate housing of their choice in their community.”
Chris Ballard, Ontario’s Minister of Housing
“The safety of those fleeing domestic violence is of paramount importance to our government, and that’s why we are committed to this pilot. Having access to safe, affordable housing is essential to escaping violence for some of our province’s most vulnerable.”
Dr. Helena Jaczek, Ontario’s Minister of Community and Social Services