Here is a story I wrote that appeared December 3rd at www.hamiltonjustice.ca. As far as I know nothing has been heard from the province yet.
Over a year ago, the City of Hamilton and other municipalities were struggling to figure out how they would address a problem caused by the provincial government.
That problem was the cancellation of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit program (CSUMB). This benefit had been available to people on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to cover costs like last month’s rent, rent and utility arrears and other housing related expenses.
In 2012, the province passed on only half of the funds to cities for a new program called the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative.
You may remember a public outcry followed. Then, at the 11th hour, the province provided transitional funding to cities to cover the gap. (We wrote about it at the time http://www.hamiltonjustice.ca/blog/?post=Transitional%20Funding%20from%20Province&id=210)
However, that transitional funding runs out on March 31, 2014.
What will fill the gap?
Recently a letter was sent to the government by a number of organizations urging that the $42 million be made a permanent part of the CHPI fund. A decision to do this needs to happen soon as municipalities are in the final stages of planning their budgets for next year.
While many municipalities like Hamilton created their own local programs to address the gap, some, unfortunately, did not. But all municipalities need more funds to meet the need in their communities.
We are writing to political leaders to ask them to reinstate the program. We hope you will too.
You can read the letter the community organizations sent on the Clinic's Fast Facts page at http://www.hamiltonjustice.ca/did-you-know.cfm
The letter and more background information is also available at http://www.incomesecurity.org/Make42millionpermanent.htm