Saturday, September 26, 2020

Geared-to-income housing application changes

The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing made regulatory changes intended to improve wait list processes and simplify the rules governing Community Housing.

An amendment to the Housing Services Act requires that any household on the “Rent Geared to Income” (RGI) Centralized Wait List (CWL) will no longer be eligible for RGI assistance if it refuses an offer of assistance from a housing project for which it has expressed interest.

Currently, a household becomes ineligible for RGI if it refuses a minimum of three offers.

The reduction in allowable refusals will come into effect for Chatham-Kent on February 1, 2020.

It will apply to all households on the Centralized Wait List, including special priority applicants. The rule will not apply to offers of Portable Housing Benefits (PHBs).

“Requiring applicants to accept the first offer of RGI assistance may help provide units for households with the greatest need more quickly and it may reduce vacancy time when units turn over,” stated Beth Earley, Program Manager, Chatham-Kent Housing Services, in a press release.

As of November 30, 2019, there were 1,000 active households on Chatham-Kent’s RGI Centralized Wait List.

Households will continue to have the option to select appropriately sized units from 13 private non-profit social housing providers, municipally owned public housing and privately owned units offered through rent supplement agreements.

On November 25, 2019, Chatham-Kent Housing Services notified RGI applicants of the reduction in allowable refusals by mail and requested that they contact the Housing Services office to review or update their unit selections.

Earley emphasized the importance of reviewing housing selections for applicants seeking RGI assistance.

“With waiting times approaching five years for some RGI housing, it’s crucial that applicants only select units that will meet their specific needs and that they are prepared to readily accept an offer of assistance when it is extended,” Earley said.

“Applicants who refuse their offer of housing can reapply but will have lost their original chronological date of application and go back to the bottom of the Centralized Wait List.”

Applicants interested in learning more about Chatham-Kent’s RGI programs can do so by visiting the Chatham-Kent Housing Services Locations page on the Municipality’s website or by contacting the Housing Services office.

All households on the RGI Centralized Wait List are encouraged to review their housing selections before the new regulation takes effect on February 1, 2020 by contacting the Housing Services Office.

Chatham-Kent Housing Services administers programs that provide residents with a variety of affordable housing options.

They are partnered with 13 private non-profit social housing providers and they provide municipally owned public housing.

Their vision is to ensure every person in Chatham-Kent has an affordable, suitable, and adequate home that provides the foundation needed to secure employment, raise a family, and build strong communities.

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