Grey County Supports AMO Housing and Homelessness Priorities for 2023 Budget
Grey County joins the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) in calling for the provincial and federal governments to work collaboratively with municipalities on efforts to increase the supply of housing, and for it to tackle the homelessness crisis in Ontario.
AMO, a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments, presented these top priorities for the 2023 provincial budget to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
Increasing the supply of housing is a priority for municipalities across Ontario, including Grey County where housing and homelessness prevention have been a priority in recent years.
“Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. As homelessness continues to rise, municipalities need more support from upper levels of government to solve this important issue. Grey County has committed to doing its part and we hope the federal and provincial governments will do the same,” said Grey County Warden Brian Milne.
Grey County continues to budget 1% of the annual budget each year towards the affordable housing fund. In 2023, Grey County taxpayers are contributing approximately $8.1 million towards local housing and homelessness prevention.
Bill 23 limits municipal access to infrastructure financing – a cost to Ontario property taxpayers $1 billion a year, according to AMO. The sector is looking for the provincial government to clarify how it will offset these costs for property taxpayers and commit to reversing legislative measures that create unintended consequences. There are risks to eliminating environmental protections or weakening municipal governance.
AMO’s pre-budget submission highlights that the Government of Ontario’s per capita spending on programming is the lowest in Canada at $2,000 less per person than the national average. It states the homelessness crisis in Ontario is a direct result of decades of provincial underinvestment in areas such as affordable housing, community mental health and income assistance programs.
As of February 2023, there are 1,284 people on Grey County’s waitlist for rent-geared-to income housing. Of these, 1213 people are current Grey County residents. Grey County currently operates 994 units of rent-geared-to income housing and supports an addition 550 units of non-profit housing. Grey County also supports 73 housing beds with related supports. In addition, Grey County provides rent supplements and administers the provincial portable housing benefit.
Quotes from AMO President Colin Best:
“The provincial government’s belief that the housing supply crisis can be solved by limiting municipal access to infrastructure financing, eliminating environmental protections or changes to municipal governance is unsound. Unless the costs of Bill 23 are fully offset by the province, it will cost Ontario property taxpayers $1 billion a year.”