Homelessness and Affordable Housing The Anglican Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario Anglicans across Ontario wish to work in partnership with the provincial government to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to increase and maintain the available stock of affordable housing. Housing people makes sound economic sense as homelessness and precarious housing have significant fiscal impacts in the increased costs imposed on health care, social services and the justice system. Equally important are the human costs of homelessness such as the loss of dignity, isolation and death. Certain populations experience disproportionately high levels of inadequate housing, including Indigenous and racialized communities, newcomers to Canada, large families, seniors, youth, and people living with physical disabilities and mental illness or addictions, and displaced workers. Anglicans throughout Ontario have been working for many years to address the Housing Crisis in a variety of ways. Many are on the front line of developing innovative affordable housing solutions, either through direct financial support or through the provision of surplus property for development. They do this work in partnership with all levels of government, the private sector, developers, local citizens and grass roots coalitions. Working with our people of all faith, with private and business partners, Anglicans in Ontario regularly mobilize to respond to immediate needs through invaluable support services for those experiencing temporary or chronic homelessness or precarious housing, by hosting Out of the Cold programs, managing emergency shelters and drop-in programs, and providing community spaces for housing support workers to meet with clients. Local clergy provide pastoral and spiritual support. The Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario of the Anglican Church wants to partner with the provincial government and continue to build upon, enhance, and adjust what is already well-articulated and working at a provincial level including the Investment in Affordable Housing program, the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy, a municipal level such as the 10-year Plans to End Homelessness and now at the Federal level with the new National Housing Strategy. In addition we urge the provincial government to:
1. Develop and implement a comprehensive plan to increase and maintain the available stock of suitable affordable housing in Ontario through adequate, predictable, sustainable and long-term funding.
2. Ensure that those in need can access supports best suited to their circumstances. This should include both on and off site supports for individuals, as well as a strong network of community-based supports that can help break isolation, develop skills, and provide a basis for civic engagement, healing, and recovery.
3. Provide portable housing benefits to low-income households, allowing them to avoid falling into homelessness while simultaneously relieving pressure on social housing infrastructure.
4. Collaborate with federal and municipal programs to create opportunities for the private sector to be involved in the development of affordable housing, including through tax exemptions, inclusionary zoning, and development fee waivers.
5. Work to ensure that emergency shelters are funded adequately and equipped appropriately for the people served in their communities.