With an Ontario provincial election next month, the London Homelessness Outreach Network is putting together a recommendation document for MPP candidates. We will share this document with the candidates, and ask them to answer poverty-related questions to be shared publicly. Here is the first set of questions:
A. PROVIDING A HOME
Homelessness isn’t only about housing, but it’s always about housing. The only cure for homelessness is a home. Therefore, we offer the following recommendations:
- London’s Community Housing Strategy calls for the building of 1000 new units of affordable housing over the next 5 years. With 4500 families on the housing wait list, we recommend that provincial funding would be provided allowing for this target to be doubled to 2000.
- Housing alone is not enough, and many living in poverty require support or find themselves evicted into homelessness. A provincial program is needed that ensures community support workers are in all affordable housing developments.
- Although the Hostels to Homes program has had limited outcomes provincially, the outcomes in London were very successful. A similar preventative/rapid re-housing program is required, and makes good fiscal sense.
- Smart housing at a community level involves housing of mixed incomes. Therefore, in addition to current grant incentives that have seen new developments of affordable housing, incentives need to be provided for developers to convert existing units to rent geared-to income (RGI).