Tag Archives: arrears

Finally, Some Good News

There was a little bit of good news just before the New Year when the Ontario Liberal government announced $42 million in funding to help municipalities develop and implement their housing and homelessness prevention plans for 2013-2014.

The funding will help ease the transition that comes from the elimination of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) as of December 31, 2012. CSUMB, which was available to all Ontarians on social assistance, helped cover unexpected housing costs, such as rental arrears, and was an important tool to help keep low income families housed. The Liberals’ decision to cancel this benefit and pass on 50% of the funds to municipalities was an ill-conceived one; aside from offering less to those who need it most, many of the municipalities did not have programs in place to properly administer the funds.

This is still nothing more than a $42 million band aid. The Liberals have offered no real long term solutions to the problem they created by cancelling CSUMB. Until they do, this gesture towards our most vulnerable citizens will have to do.

Eviction Prevention Pilot Project

Since its inception in 1999, CERA’s Eviction Prevention program has helped over 10,000 individuals and families keep their homes.  This is no small number, though the unfortunate truth remains that a much greater amount of households have been evicted over that time.  Many of these are preventable.

The vast majority of evictions are due to arrears.  For tenants who fall behind in their rent, time is crucial.  Tenants more than two months in arrears have a much tougher time receiving financial assistance.  We need to get the word out faster.  We need to get a dialogue going sooner.

So CERA is putting the finishing touches on a pilot project that will do just that.  Working with the City of Toronto and a large corporate landlord, we will soon debut the Rental Arrears Repayment Protocol.  This is a simple, formalized agreement that can be initiated by either party as soon as a tenant is one month in arrears.  Hopefully, this will reduce the need to file eviction applications at the Landlord and Tenant Board.  We’re aiming to start the Protocol in two high-rise buildings later this summer.