NRH Board Responds to Ontario Community Housing Renewal Strategy and Funding Shortfall

NIAGARA REGION, May 29, 2019 – At its Board meeting on May 24, the Niagara Regional Housing (NRH) Board expressed concern that the Province has reduced funding for affordable housing programs in the new guidelines accompanying the Community Housing Renewal Strategy (CHRS) released earlier in the month. "There are aspects of the plan that the Board fully supports," stated Donna Woiceshyn, Chief Executive Officer of NRH, "but we are really concerned about the impact of the $13.15 million (50.3%) reduction in funding for affordable housing programs over the next three years. This shortfall is coming at a time when Niagara desperately needs affordable housing."

The Board also noted the effect the decrease will have on housing providers' ability to keep current housing stock in good condition. "Without sufficient funding, our communities will either fall into disrepair – or end up costing more money in the long run", said Woiceshyn.

Despite their objection to the funding decrease, the Board indicated support for much of the CHRS. The guidelines included a percentage of funding for supports to help vulnerable tenants stay housed, which the Board believes is critical to address an increase in mental health and addiction issues and the growing number of tenants aging at home.

The Board also agreed with the Province’s proposal to require applicants to accept the first offer of housing in order to move the wait list along more quickly. "It doesn't matter how fast we can move the wait list if there's nowhere for applicants to go," said Woiceshyn, "We'd like to move tenants along the housing continuum and back into the private market, but without enough supply tenants must remain where they are and applicants will continue to wait. NRH is ready to build or help others any way we can to increase and improve affordable housing but the bottom line is that less funding means we won't be able to make potential projects into a reality and fewer people will have stable housing".

NRH administers affordable housing on behalf of Niagara Region.

Donna Woiceshyn
Chief Executive Officer, NRH
905-682-9201, ext. 3900

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