Ontario government provides leeway for District Services Board housing supplement program

ESPANOLA – The Manitoulin Sudbury District Services Board (DSB) received some welcome news at its June 25 meeting, held through videoconferencing. Director of Integrated Social Services Donna Stewart informed the board that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has approved the maximum benefit payable starting July 1 will be 80 percent of the DSB’s monthly rent calculation, rather than the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) average monthly rent calculation.

Ms. Stewart noted that her report to the board in February indicated the gap between the two calculations “is quite large” and “which means that less people will qualify.”

For example, under the CMHC calculation a single individual on social assistance paying $940 for a one-bedroom apartment all utilities included would have received $322.50 in housing benefit; under the DSB program they would receive $486.50, an increase of $164 a month.

“For a single, non-social assistance recipient working at minimum wage of $25,480 per year, they would not have received any housing benefit under the previous average market rent,” said Ms. Stewart. “Under the new average market rent they would qualify for $69.40 per month in housing benefit.

Thanks to the new guidelines, she said, more applicants will qualify for housing benefits and others will see their benefits increase.