Ontario Protects Homeless Shelters Against COVID-19

Published on March 10, 2021

Beamsville - The Ontario government is providing $4,745,507 to help the Regional Municipality of Niagara respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases in some emergency shelters and help keep vulnerable people safe. The new funding will protect homeless shelter staff and residents and help prevent more people from becoming homeless.

"We know shelters and congregate living settings are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and our government is providing additional support to municipalities across the province to protect shelter staff and residents," said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

"We especially appreciate the efforts by the Regional Municipality of Niagara in providing care for the most vulnerable in Niagara."

"While the pandemic has impacted every corner of the Niagara Region's operations, few have been hit as hard as our housing and homelessness programs," said Jim Bradley, Chair of the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

"The additional provincial funding being announced here will make a meaningful difference in the protecting of those living in congregate setting, and the staff who work with these residents. On behalf of Regional Council, I want to thank the provincial government for continuing to be partners with us in our efforts to minimize the impacts of COVID-19."

Today's announcement is part of the province’s additional $255 million investment through the Social Services Relief Fund. Municipal service managers and Indigenous program partners can use the funding to acquire motel and hotel spaces to support physical distancing of shelter residents, hire more shelter staff, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, and add to rent and utility banks to prevent more people from becoming homeless.

"Our government is once again taking immediate action to save lives by responding to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in some emergency shelters across the province," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

"This investment will ensure our municipal service managers can keep vulnerable people and shelter workers safe by providing them with the financial ability to take any means necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 in shelter spaces."

Under the Social Services Relief Fund, Ontario has provided $765 million to help service managers and Indigenous program partners support shelters, create longer-term housing solutions and help vulnerable Ontarians affected by COVID-19, including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.