Ontario Distributes $42m in Municipalities for Homelessness Cuts

Ontario has taken a one-time step of allowing funds to assist municipalities for dealing with its trimming of programs to battle homelessness. The minister of community and social services, John Milloy, made the official announcement on Thursday, claiming that the province will supply $42 million in just a one-time offer to all cities across Ontario.

Hamilton has been allowed to receive $3.19 million, about which Milloy claims that “we heard from municipalities, we heard from caucus colleagues and we heard from poverty activists” and “there was a fear that people would fall through the cracks and this was happening too fast, and we responded to that.” Overall a sum of $42 million will be distributed to all municipalities to pay the cost of antihomelessness programs in the coming year. Each city will be given full liberty to use this funding according to their own free will. Hamilton has claimed that the $3.19-million allocated to the province are not enough to fulfill their needs of paying the cost of provincial cuts, as the city staff demands a $7.6 million. The provincial government has cut down two support programs this year, namely the Community Startup and Maintenance Benefit, and discretionary health benefits.

MPP for Ancaster-Flamborough-Dundas-Westdale, Ted McMeekin, alleged that now that the announcement of recent funding has been made, councilors shall now get busy and decide whether to cover the discretionary benefits program for all of 2013, though he admitted that Thursday’s announcement was still good news. He stated that “there’s still some work to do, but any government can only do so much. But we took it very seriously. It needed to be revisited and it has.”

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