$10M a year for Indigenous housing to tackle homelessness
The Ford government will provide an extra $10 million a year to help give homeless Indigenous people access to support and transitional housing to keep them off the streets.
The province made the announcement Thursday on the new funding for two Indigenous agencies, calling it a step forward for people experiencing or nearing homelessness.
"My ministry led consultations in this sector on how we can improve the offering on supportive housing," said the minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark.
"Based on that feedback, we are taking an all-of-government approach to better coordinate the services that we provide today. We need to make the system work better and work smarter across the platforms."
The money will go towards supporting the culturally sensitive programs offered by Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) and the Miziwe Biik Development Corporation.
“Government funding is crucial in boosting its program offerings around the province, but especially here in the north where Indigenous people are over represented in the local homeless population,” said OAHS director of supportive housing, Kristy Jones.
A homeless count in the Timmins area last year showed at least 80 per cent of people spoken to on the streets identified as Indigenous.
Jones said funding and collaboration with government and district social services boards are keys to lasting change on this issue.
"We recently provided 102 individuals in Timmins, who are experiencing homelessness and at risk of homelessness, with these supports," Jones said.
"Ontario Aboriginal Housing is interested in working with all municipalities and services boards across the north to see how we can partner together on Indigenous-led solutions."