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September 26, 2002
New project in Toronto to assist homeless persons
  
Today the City of Toronto announced a new pilot project aimed at assisting
homeless persons in moving from homelessness into permanent housing. The
Emergency Homelessness Pilot Project will increase the opportunities for
homeless persons to secure permanent rental housing through direct access to
rent supplement assistance. This pilot project will initially be targeted to
the displaced occupants of the site at 429 Lakeshore Blvd East and 324 Cherry
Street.

Under the terms of the pilot project, assistance will be provided to secure
permanent housing units. Homeless persons qualifying for the Emergency
Homelessness Pilot Project will have the assistance of housing help workers and
support agencies in finding permanent housing. It is anticipated that these
units will be secured in the private rental market.

"This is an important initiative," said Mayor Mel Lastman, who stressed the
project will get people out of shelters and into affordable housing. "We are
doing everything possible to help provide shelter and housing options to
persons displaced by events earlier this week."

Councillor Olivia Chow, Chair of Community Services Committee, stated that the
project is aimed at persons who are chronically homeless. She remarked, "This
project provides another opportunity to assist chronically homeless individuals
to attain permanent housing."

The Emergency Homelessness Pilot Project is being undertaken under the new
Homelessness Rent Supplement Program Guidelines announced in March by the
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Funding for this program is
provided by the provincial government.

The pilot project will be delivered by the Toronto Community Housing
Corporation under their contract with the City of Toronto to deliver rent
supplement programs. The results of the Emergency Homelessness Pilot Project
will be evaluated in March 2003.

Background

Pilot Project Objectives
The Emergency Homelessness Pilot Project will help homeless persons to secure
permanent rental housing through direct access to rent supplement assistance.
The pilot project will initially be targeted to the displaced occupants of the
site at 429 Lakeshore Blvd East and 324 Cherry Street.

How It Works
Eligible residents are those identified, from lists provided by agencies
working at the site. The displaced occupants participating in this project
must also meet the eligibility criteria for social housing, and will have to
provide evidence of their income, if any.

Participants will be given a Letter of Guarantee saying that:
- Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) will pay first and last months
rent to the landlord
- TCHC will guarantee 100% of the rent to the landlord for the first three
months rent, and
- TCHC will pay to the landlord the difference between what the tenant can
afford, and the monthly rent.

Under the terms of the project TCHC may pay the whole rent directly to the
landlord and collect the tenant's portion from them or their source of income.
(This may be included in the letter at the participant's option.)

The participant will pay their portion of the rent based on their income. TCHC
will pay the difference to a maximum rent equal to the CMHC median rent for
Toronto.

The participant will take the Letter of Guarantee which will assist them in
securing suitable, permanent housing. The participant will also receive
support as appropriate in their search by agencies, such as Housing Help
Centres and TCHC.

The participant will provide the landlord the Letter of Guarantee and obtain a
signed offer to rent or lease for the unit. TCHC then will sign a contract
with the landlord to provide the appropriate guarantees.

Recognized community agencies that work with homeless people will be contracted
to provide support to participants in the project, and facilitate the
relationship between the landlord and tenant.

Source of funding for the pilot project
The project will be funded under the new Homelessness Rent Supplement Program
Guidelines announced on March 1, 2002 by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and
Housing. Funding for this program is provided by the Provincial government.

Estimated costs of the pilot project
The estimated annual cost for this pilot rent supplement is $400,000.00.

Project Management
The Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) will deliver the pilot under
their contract with the City of Toronto to deliver rent supplement programs.

Steering Committee
A Steering Committee will be established immediately to implement this pilot.
Membership of the steering committee will include, TCHC staff, Shelter, Housing
and Support staff, and stakeholder representatives.

Housing Supply
The housing units will be in the private sector rental market, and participants
will be supported to find suitable units by agencies, Housing Help Centres, and
TCHC as appropriate. TCHC will assist in identifying landlords who have agreed
to participate in the Homelessness Rent Supplement program.


Media Contact
Access Toronto
416-338-0338

 

 

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