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Ontario’s co‑ops still waiting for solution to the end of operating agreements

Toronto, Ontario, April 23, 2015 – Housing co‑ops across Ontario are disappointed that in today’s budget the Province did not follow Quebec’s lead and commit to supporting vulnerable households affected by the end of their co‑op’s operating agreement with the federal government.

“While Ontario’s co‑ops welcome the commitment to Help End Homelessness and the extended Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) initiative, we had hoped the Province would recognize the importance of maintaining these co‑op homes for our most vulnerable members while a long-term deal with Ottawa is struck,” said Harvey Cooper, Managing Director of CHF Canada’s Ontario Region. Nicole Waldron, Ontario Region Council President added, “With the province’s focus on ‘Building up Ontario’, it is important that people’s foundations – their homes – not be left behind.”

Nearly half of Ontario’s 550 housing co‑ops receive funding from the federal government to provide rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidies to low-income households. The agreements under which this funding was provided have already begun to expire and there is no commitment yet to replace this support. Without government intervention, over the next few years approximately 7,000 households could lose the RGI subsidies they depend on to pay their rent. Ontario already has over 165,000 households on municipal social housing waitlists.

“The funding needed to maintain the co‑op share of these subsidies is minimal, approximately $7 million over the next five years, but the impact it would have on these households is fundamental,” said Cooper. “Going forward, we hope Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy update and the Poverty Reduction Strategy will recognize that keeping people in their communities by maintaining rent supplements is one of the most affordable and effective ways to fight the growth of poverty in Ontario.

CHF Canada’s Ontario Region represents and serves over 500 housing co‑ops in the province, home to some 125,000 Ontarians. Co‑operative housing has a solid track record of over four decades of building and providing safe, secure, affordable housing in member-owned communities.

For more information:

Harvey Cooper, Managing Director
1-800-268-2537 ext. 237 or 416-809-5048 (cell)

Simone Swail, Program Manager, Government Relations
1-800-268-2537 ext. 223 or 416-605-4432 (cell)