By Cidalia Pereira, Violence Against Women Team Lead | December 3, 2021
New provincial regulations around rent geared to income housing, often called subsidized housing, is changing the landscape of this important social safety net.
Rent geared to income housing, which is available through the City of Toronto, is a way for individuals or households to access affordable housing. The rent for a single subsidized housing unit is 30 per cent of a household’s total monthly income before taxes. If someone is on social assistance, the rent is based on the rent benefit set by the Ontario Government.
ACCESS TO HOUSING
The City of Toronto’s subsidized housing program was previously called Housing Connections. With new provincial regulations now in effect, the City of Toronto has implemented the changes and the Housing Connections program is now renamed Access to Housing. Information about the new program can be found online at www.toronto.ca.
To no one’s surprise, currently there are more applicants on the waitlist than housing units available. Under the new regulations, those individuals on the waitlist will now have to re-register on the new online housing portal or their application could be cancelled.
From July to November of this year, letters are being mailed out to all applicants on the housing waitlist with a unique code and instructions on how to go online to register for the new housing portal.
How to register
In order to register, the applicant will need an email and access to an electronic device such as a laptop, tablet or smart phone with internet connectivity. If an individual does not have an email address, they will need to create an email account through one of the free email providers such as Hotmail, Google or Yahoo. To complete their online housing application, they will need to upload documents for each member of the family on the application.
Access to Housing will require that the applicant and their family members attach an electronic copy of their immigration status (permanent resident, Canadian citizen or other eligible status) as well as the Notice of Assessment for all eligible family members. The Notice of Assessment is available to all individuals who filed a tax return in the previous tax year.
If an individual or family does not have these documents, an immigration or citizenship replacement document can be obtained from Immigrants, Refugees and Citizens Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can send out a duplicate of the Notice of Assessment.
Once an applicant has successfully completed their application for rent geared to income housing on the new online Access to Housing portal, they will have to check their email account regularly for any notifications or housing offers. Applicants will receive a notice that there is a vacancy and will need to respond with an expression of interest. Expressions of interests will be accepted based on chronological order, i.e., who has been on the waitlist the longest are notified first.
Single offer rule
Beginning January 1, 2022, the city will move to a “single offer rule”. This means applicants will only have a single, yes just one, housing offer. If the applicant turns it down and says “no” to the housing offer, their application will be cancelled. They will have to reapply as a new applicant and go back on the waitlist.
Those looking to apply for subsidized housing for the first time, will have to register through the online portal, complete the process and attach the documents described above. The only exception to the waitlist is those eligible for priority status such as survivors of abuse and human trafficking or someone with a terminal illness.
If you are already on the housing waitlist and have not received your letter, call Access to Housing at 416-338-8888 or contact a housing help provider. You can locate the nearest office to you at www.toronto.ca/ccesstohousing.
If you are in immediate housing need, please call Central Intake at 416-338-4766. If you are a woman experience abuse and wanting to leave your current situation, call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 416-863-0511. If you have any other questions or concerns, Abrigo is always ready and available to assist you. Call us at 416-534-3434 during normal business hours.
Click here to receive our newsletter
Read the latest issue of DISCOVER. The magazine changed its format to an online and pocket version.