Dufferin County calls on Province to prioritize housing and homelessness
Dufferin County joins the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) in calling for the provincial government to work more collaboratively with municipalities to increase the supply of housing and tackle the homelessness crisis in Ontario.
At its meeting on Thursday March 9, 2023, Dufferin County Council called on the Province to urgently acknowledge that homelessness in Ontario is a social, economic, and health crisis and to commit to ending homelessness in Ontario. The County resolved that the Province must work with AMO and a broad range of community, health, Indigenous and economic partners to develop, resource, and implement an action plan to achieve the goal of ending homelessness.
Increasing housing supply is a priority for municipalities across Ontario, including Dufferin County. In Dufferin, there are currently around 800 applicant households on the Housing Access Dufferin Centralized Waiting List, with an average wait of between 4 to 8 years. In 2021, 1 in 10 (or 6,000) people in Dufferin lived in poverty, and 1 in 9 households lived in core housing needs.
AMO, a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments, presented housing and homelessness as top priorities for the 2023 provincial budget to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
AMO’s pre-budget submission highlights that the Government of Ontario’s per capita spending on programming is the lowest in Canada at $2,000 less per person than the national average. It states that the homelessness crisis in Ontario is a direct result of decades of provincial underinvestment in areas such as affordable housing, community mental health and income assistance programs.
The Government of Ontario should heed AMO’s recommendations to end homelessness:
- Increase the supply of deeply affordable housing through a variety of approaches from rent subsidies to property acquisitions.
- Increase financial assistance to individuals and families and fulfill the government’s promise to transform its social assistance system.
- Invest in health services, community-based mental health services, supportive housing and addictions services.
More information on housing and homelessness in Dufferin County can be found at www.dufferincounty.ca.
“The homelessness crisis is taking a devastating toll on families and communities, undermining a healthy and prosperous Ontario. Dufferin County Council is resolved to help those in need in our community and is working to ensure all residents have a place to live, but we cannot do it alone. We urgently call on the Province to acknowledge the social, economic and health crisis of homelessness, and ask that they do their part. We must develop, resource, and implement a comprehensive plan to prevent, reduce and – ultimately – end homelessness in Dufferin County and Ontario, together.”
- Wade Mills, Warden, Dufferin County
“Homelessness is felt most at the local government level and by the residents that local governments serve. Together with our community partners, we continue to do our part to address homelessness in Dufferin County, but we do not have the tools and resources required to tackle the urgent, complex crisis of homelessness without provincial support. We look forward to collaborating with AMO and the Province to ensure every person has a safe and affordable place to call home.”
- Darren White, Councillor and Chair, Health and Human Services Committee, Dufferin County
“Dufferin County staff continue to make progress towards our goal of addressing homelessness and housing in Dufferin, but there is still more to do. Tackling the homelessness crisis will require a range of housing, social service, and health solutions from all levels of government, and we remain focused on continuing to work with our partners to provide the services our residents require. Through ongoing advocacy and collaboration, we will take steps forward in addressing affordable housing and ending homelessness in our community.”
- Sonya Pritchard, Chief Administrative Officer, Dufferin County
“The provincial government’s belief that the housing supply crisis can be solved by limiting municipal access to infrastructure financing, eliminating environmental protections or changes to municipal governance is unsound. Unless the costs of Bill 23 are fully offset by the province, it will cost Ontario property taxpayers $1 billion a year. This is a made-in-Ontario crisis resulting from provincial underinvestment and poor policy choices made by the government of Ontario. The Government of Ontario has the tools and resources to end the homelessness crisis it has created over decades. It must surely possess the leadership, capability and political will to get the job done.”
- Colin Best, President, AMO
Megan Ball, Manager of Communications