The Housing Subsidies program typifies the philosophy that all people have the right to choose the community and the residence in which they live. We understand that having a home is a key aspect of recovery for persons living with mental health issues and we strive to assist people in exercising their rights and their options. Unfortunately, the cost of rent and utilities too often exceeds the shelter allowance provided by Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program. Rent subsidies offer some financial assistance to bridge the gap between market rent and what an individual can afford to pay.
The Housing Subsidies program's staff understand that receiving housing subsidies can be daunting. Part of their duties involve helping people navigate their way through the process, which includes advocacy work in Kenora's rental market. To be eligible for a housing subsidy, a person has to have a serious mental illness or problematic substance use issues, receive funding from Ontario Works or from Ontario Disability Program, and have a rental agreement that exceeds his or her shelter allowance. Once an application is completed, the Housing Support Worker will meet with the landlord, develop an agreement and co-ordinate rent subsidies for persons living in Kenora. These subsidies have provided and will continue to provide many people with opportunities to live in a residence within the community of their choice.
The Housing Subsidies program adheres to ministry guided criteria to assist people who qualify for subsidies. An adult whom satisfies one or more of the following criteria may qualify for assistance: a person who has a serious mental illness and is appropriately supported by community-based services; a person receiving case management services who is at risk of being charged or who has been charged with an offence that is considered low risk; and a person who has a problematic issue with substance use and can be supported by community-based services.
Part of the funding for the housing subsidies program has been provided by the North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).