Province kicks in $1.2 million for homeless youth housing in Whitby

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Published May 1, 2024 at 4:11 pm

The Ontario government is providing $1.2 million to help create six housing units in Whitby that will support youth experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, mental health, and addiction issues.

The three-story building, managed by Durham Youth Services, offers transitional housing for youth ages 19 – 24. The upper and mid-level units are each self-contained, three-bedroom units equipped with a kitchen and bathroom which is shared amongst the youths living in the unit.

The basement unit is a two-bedroom apartment, also equipped with its own kitchen and bathroom and designated for youth who know each other and/or youth who are supporting a young family. There is a common laundry room and shared outdoor living space.

“Our government’s housing plan is about creating more homes for the people of Ontario, including supportive housing that is critical to the well-being of both residents and the community,” said Associate Housing Minister Rob Flack. “This investment through the Social Services Relief Fund will help provide housing solutions for some of the most vulnerable residents in Whitby, making a real difference in the lives of people in this community.”

Today’s announcement is part of the province’s Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF), which has provided over $1.2 billion of support to help municipal service managers and Indigenous program administrators create longer-term housing solutions and help vulnerable people in Ontario, including those who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.

Durham Region Chair John Henry said the funding provided by the Province allows the Region to support Durham Youth Services to create a “safe space” for youth without a home and a “chance to build independence” before transitioning to more permanent housing.

“It’s an opportunity to learn life skills, where they feel most secure: at home,” Henry said. “Although we can’t build a specific future for these individuals, we can work together to help them realize a brighter future.”

Whitby Mayor Elizabeth Roy thanked the provincial government for providing the funding for the project. “When we talk about the need for more housing in our community, the need for supportive housing like Durham Youth Services is an important part of the equation,” she said. “This funding will ensure vulnerable youth have a safe place to call home, as well as opportunities to learn new skills that empower them to achieve their goals.”

Queen’s Park is also investing an additional $202 million each year in homelessness prevention programs – the Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program – bringing Ontario’s total yearly investment to close to $700 million. This includes an allocation of $18.7 million through the Homelessness Prevention Program for the Region of Durham in 2023-24.

“Our government knows that investments to providers like Durham Youth Services with greater flexibility to deliver critical services and housing supports to those most vulnerable will have a significant impact in communities like Whitby,” said Whitby MPP Lorne Coe. “This is yet another positive step forward in the fight against homelessness in Whitby and other parts of Durham.”

Durham Region has been allocated over $32 million through all phases of the Social Services Relief Fund to deliver critical services such as shelters, food banks and emergency services.

Service managers and Indigenous program administrators have the flexibility to allocate provincial funding to programs and services that address and prevent homelessness in their communities, such as rent supplements, homeless shelters, and supportive housing including capital projects.

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