The Ontario government is providing municipalities with an additional $150 million to continue to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19 by improving homeless shelters and creating opportunities for longer-term housing.
According to the Province, the investment more than doubles the funding currently flowing to local municipal service managers and urban Indigenous program administrators through the Social Services Relief Fund.
“We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our municipal and Indigenous community partners to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are protected during these difficult times,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said during his daily press conference on Thursday.
“Today’s investment builds on our collective efforts to help people get back on their feet quickly and recover from this global crisis. We will continue to be a champion for our municipal partners with the federal government to ensure a strong recovery for communities across the province.”
Municipalities and urban Indigenous community partners will be able to use this funding to renovate shelters or purchase new facilities that will help with physical distancing in the short term and support “longer-term, more sustainable solutions to homelessness.”
In addition, this funding could also be used to provide vulnerable people with food, shelter and supplies.
With this additional funding, the government is providing municipal service managers and urban Indigenous program administrators with $350 million through the Social Services Relief Fund.
For the province, this builds on the support being delivered as part of the COVID-19 Action Plan to Protect Vulnerable Ontarians.
The action plan provides enhanced screening and testing in high-risk settings such as shelters and homes, including for those with developmental disabilities, and provides personal protective equipment and training so staff will know what to do in the event of an outbreak.
In March, Ontario announced an initial investment of $148 million to support municipalities, food banks, homeless shelters and individuals.