Ontario Helping Survivors of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Access Affordable Housing
Portable Housing Benefit Helps Survivors Escape Violence Faster
Ontario is helping more survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking escape violence by providing faster access to housing.
Survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking will now have access to a subsidy, or portable housing benefit, that helps low-income households manage housing costs. The subsidy gives a household the freedom to choose where to live and is not tied to a specific unit like most rent-geared-to-income social housing.
Starting January 1, 2018 survivors of human trafficking can also receive priority access to rent-geared-to-income social housing. Survivors of domestic violence currently receive priority access.
Changes to the application process will also make it faster, more culturally inclusive and recognize the cycle of abuse. This will make it easier for survivors and their families to apply for housing and help them escape abusive situations more quickly.
Ensuring everyone in Ontario has a safe and affordable place to call home is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- The special priority policy gives survivors of domestic violence priority access to rent-geared-to-income social housing. It is being expanded to include survivors of human trafficking.
- The portable housing benefit pilot program allowed survivors of domestic violence in 22 communities to choose a portable housing benefit instead of social housing. It is now being expanded to include survivors of domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking across the province.
- The expanded portable housing benefit program will invest up to $30 million over three years and eventually support up to 3,000 survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Starting in 2020, funding will increase to $15 million annually.
- This announcement expands on the Survivors of Domestic Violence Portable Housing Benefit pilot program announced in September 2016 and is part of the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy update. It also delivers on a commitment under Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking.
“We are committed to providing survivors of domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking with more housing options. Everyone in Ontario, no matter where they live, deserves to be safe and free from harm.”
“Human trafficking and domestic violence are brutal and heart breaking crimes that exploit the vulnerable in our communities. It is so important to have specialized supports and services available to meet the needs of survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. This expanded portable housing benefit program ensures that survivors of violence have a safe place to go to rebuild their lives and heal.”
“Finding safe and secure housing is one of the crucial first steps towards rebuilding the life of someone who has been trafficked or has experienced domestic violence. It is critical that we make the portable housing benefit permanent and available to all survivors who are fleeing violence. With the additional funds to assist women and their children to obtain a new home, as well as priority access to affordable housing, there are now more options than ever before for those who have been trafficked or have experienced domestic violence.”