Employment & Social Services

Housing Stabilization Fund

Policy Intent

The Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) is intended to prevent homelessness by meeting the emergency housing needs of Toronto residents who receive financial assistance from Ontario Works (OW) and income support from Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) so that they are able to stabilize their housing situation.

Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) is committed to administering this fund in a timely, transparent and consistent manner that is responsive to client circumstances.

Background

Consolidating housing homelessness programs is an integral part of Ontario's Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy. As of January 1, 2013, the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) combined provincial funding from five existing homelessness programs into a single funding envelope administered by the Ministry of Housing and delivered by Service Managers. CHPI focuses on the following two outcomes:

  • People experiencing homelessness obtain and retain housing; and
  • People at risk of homelessness remain housed.

Using the CHPI funding and consistent with the objectives of that program, the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) was developed and administered by TESS effective January 1, 2013.

Target Group

Residents of the City of Toronto who are in receipt of financial assistance through Ontario Works (OW) or income support through Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) can request the fund. For OW, this includes individuals receiving Temporary Care Assistance. Clients in receipt of Emergency Assistance or Interim Assistance are not eligible for the fund. This fund is not available to residents of Toronto who are not in receipt of social assistance.

General Principles

  • To meet the emergency housing needs of social assistance residents so that homeless clients are able to obtain housing or those who are currently housed are able to retain housing or relocate due to a high rent situation.
  • To ensure the policy and procedures for issuing the benefit to clients are transparent, consistent, streamlined and simple.
  • To refer clients to both internal and external social supports that will assist them in stabilizing their housing.
  • The fund provides a valuable support for those who need to establish or retain their housing but it is acknowledged that it may not address all of the complex needs of clients. Clients are encouraged to speak to their caseworker about any other housing related issues they may need support with.

Terms

Establishing a Residence:    

  • Moving from the street, a hostel or a furnished to unfurnished accommodation;
  • New residents to the City of Toronto establishing a residence; or
  • Clients relocating due to fire, flood or domestic violence.

Soft Furniture: Household items that are upholstered with fabric such as a sofa bed and sofa.

Homeless:  Not having stable, secure, and permanent housing/residence.  This includes those who access shelters, couch surf, lack of funds to secure and/or maintain housing, live on the streets, sleep in houses/structures which are unsafe and/or without utilities

Total Accommodation Costs: Includes the actual shelter cost plus any additional expenses such as hydro, fuel.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be a resident of the City of Toronto and in receipt of financial assistance from Ontario Works or income support from the Ontario Disability Support Program.
  • Total accommodation costs must be sustainable and within 85% of total monthly income.
  • All required verification must be provided by clients in order to assess eligibility for the fund.
  • Reimbursements will not be issued for items paid for prior to the request.
  • Assessments for rental or energy arrears require an ongoing pay direct for the full amount.
  • Clients must not have accessed the maximum amount of funding available in the current calendar year. Exception: Funds for soft furniture, encasements or beds related to a bed bug occurrence can only be issued once in a 24 month period.

Housing Circumstances

To secure housing and prevent homelessness, clients may be eligible for the HSF if they are:

  • Homeless and leaving an emergency shelter or the street.
  • Housed and relocating within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) because of domestic violence, fire/flood or to accommodate a change in family size.
  • Housed and relocating within the GTA due to a high rent situation.

To meet the emergency housing needs, HSF may be issued to help with:

(a) Last Month's rent within the GTA

  • Funds to secure an address will be issued if accommodation costs are within 85% of total monthly income.
  • Funds are not issued:
    • To applicants listed as an occupant only
    • To applicants who are sub-letting
    • For co-op membership fees also known as co-op deposits
    • For application fees or deposits when applying for accommodation
    • For parking.

 (b) Establishing a Residence

HSF funds can be issued for last month's rent, as well as to purchase household items to establish a residence for:

  • clients moving from the street, a hostel or a furnished to unfurnished accommodation
  • new residents to the city who are establishing an accommodation
  • clients relocating due to fire, flood or domestic violence.


Eligibility is limited to the flat rate amounts noted below:

Family Size

Establishing a Residence Flat Rate Amounts

Singles/Couples

$800.00

Families with Dependent Adults

$1,000.00

Families with Children

$1,500.00

Please note: Any combination of issuances cannot exceed the annual maximum based on family size.

(c) Rental Arrears within the GTA

  • Funds for rental arrears will be issued if the applicant is responsible for paying the rent and if their accommodation costs are within 85% of total monthly income.

 

  • Funds are not issued:
    • To clients listed as an occupant only
    • To clients who are sub-letting
    • For parking arrears or costs to cover damages
    • If an ongoing pay direct for the full monthly amount cannot be established.  

(d)  Energy Arrears (gas, hydro and fuel)

  • Funds for energy arrears will be issued if the energy account is in the name of the client and their total accommodation costs are within 85% of total monthly income.
  • Funds are issued to clients whose name is on the energy account providing that an ongoing pay direct for the full monthly amount can be established.

(e) Moving Costs within the GTA

  • Funds for moving will be issued if the client is housed and moving within the GTA due to a high rent situation.

 

Eligibility is limited to the flat rate amounts noted below:

Family Size

Moving Flat Rate Amounts

Singles/Couples

$350.00

Families (with children and/or dependent adults)

$425.00

(f) Bed & Encasement Issuances are:

  • To purchase a bed & encasement for a child that has outgrown a crib
  • To purchase a bed & encasement when a child joins the family

(g) Beds & Soft Furniture when there is verification of bed bug treatment

  • For clients residing in a Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) unit, written verification outlining the address, unit # and date of treatment is required from their "Integrated Pest Management Asset Management" unit.
  • For clients residing at any other addresses (non-TCHC), written verification outlining the address, unit #, date of treatment and the name of the pest control company is required from either the landlord or the pest control company.
  • The request must be made within 30 days from the date of treatment.
  • Funds can be issued to purchase encasements and for the replacement of discarded beds and/or soft furniture once in a 24 month period when there is documented treatment for bed bugs.
  • Soft furniture is not issued for any other purpose

Eligibility is limited to the amounts noted below:

Family Size

Encasements
Flat rate

Beds
Flat rate

Soft Furniture
Flat rate

Singles/Couples

Twin:  $45.00 or

Double/Queen: $60.00

Twin: $300 or

Double/Queen: $500

$250.00

Families with Children

Twin $45.00 or

Double/Queen: $60.00  

Twin: $300 or

Double/Queen: $500

$300.00

Families with Dependent Adults

Twin:  $45.00 or

Double/Queen: $60.00

Twin $300 or Double/Queen: $500  

$300.00

Please note: Any combination of issuances cannot exceed the annual maximum based on family size.

Maximum Entitlement and Types of Items Included

The maximum annual HSF entitlement based on family size is:

  • Singles/Couples - $1,600
  • Families with Dependent Adults - $2,000
  • Families with Children - $3,000
  • Temporary Care - $560  per child (in temp care)

Note:

  • To support housing affordability, monthly accommodation costs must be within 85% of total monthly income
  • Funds for bed bugs can only be issued once in a 24 month period

Acceptable Documentation

  • Last month's rent within the GTA- Lease/Property Management/Owner letter or Promise of Address (POA) verifying requested amount.
  • Establishing a Residence- self-declaration.
  • Rental Arrears- letter from the landlord, late notice/N4, notice of rental arrears or eviction notice (if received).
  • Energy Arrears- Energy bill or disconnection notice (must be in the name of the client).
  • Moving Costs within GTA– Verbal declaration
  • Documented verification of treatment for bed bugs- For clients residing in TCHC, written verification outlining address, unit #, and date of treatment from "Integrated Pest Management Asset Management" unit.
  • For clients at all other addresses (non-TCHC), written verification outlining address, unit #, date of treatment and the name of the pest control company from either the landlord or the pest control company.

Referral Process

OW clients should contact their OW caseworker for an HSF assessment. ODSP clients should contact their ODSP caseworker for a referral.

You can also see information about the Housing Stabilization Fund on Toronto's human services website.