Jennie Stevens MPP, St. Catharines

Government of Ontario

NDP reps weigh in on homelessness underfunding

Published on January 19, 2019


Niagara's three New Democratic Party representatives have teamed up to demand "a fair deal" when it comes to provincial homelessness funding.

MPPs Wayne Gates from Niagara Falls, Jennie Stevens from St. Catharines and Jeff Burch from the Niagara-Centre riding sent an open letter to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, Friday, concerned about the level of funding the Region receives through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI).

"Thousands of our residents are in shelters or emergency hotel accommodations, unable to find affordable housing; we have heard stories of people in our community forced to sleep under bridges," they wrote, adding the current CHPI funding formula exacerbates this issue.

"For many years Niagara has done more with less under previous Liberal Governments, and constituents in Niagara are requesting a fair deal."

They said Niagara's shelters continue to operate at over 100 per cent capacity, while the use of hotels for emergency accommodations increased by 160 per cent from 2017 to 2018.

The letter also compares the $17.52 per capita Niagara will receive in CHPI funding this year to similar jurisdictions, including Hamilton with $36.59 per capita and Windsor with $26.83 per capita, pegging the estimated shortfall at $2.5 million to $4 million annually.

"Local elected officials estimate that the Niagara Region had been shorted by an upwards $20 million in CHPI funding in the seven years since its implementation," the MPPs wrote.

"These statistics and the longstanding issue with the CHPI are outlined in the Niagara Region's 2019 AMO Briefing and has been brought to the attention of the previous Liberal government on several occasions."

The MPPs asked Clark to fix the issue that began under the previous Liberal government and invited him to visit the region to meet with municipal officials and community leaders who have been raising this issue for some time.