Repair the ROOF!
Background (preamble): The Rental Opportunity for Ontario Families (ROOF) is a housing allowance program for low-income working families to help pay for rent. It provides an allowance of up to $100 per month for a maximum of 5 years to low-income working families deemed eligible in 2007/2008 (no new applicants are accepted after June 2008). Compared to other housing allowance programs in Canada, ROOF is inadequate in meeting the housing needs of its recipients and excludes others that could potentially benefit from a housing allowance program. The program contains several limitations: it is available to only one cohort and up to 5 years (depending on eligibility); has restrictive eligibility criteria (must have an adjusted family net income of below $20,000 per year, and less than $10,000 in liquid assets to qualify. It also does not accommodate for the number of dependent children nor for having dependent children over the age of 18) and; provides an insufficient monthly allowance. Considering the economic context: • rise in rent (37% over the past 15 years) and high energy costs • low rental vacancy rates (2.7% in 2008) • long wait lists for social housing (124,032 households in 2008) • high unemployment rate (8.0% in January 2009) • rising food prices (7.3% in 2008) greater than the rate of inflation • more people using food banks (up 13% in fall 2008); 37.6% of those forced to turn to food banks are children, and; 21% decline in the ability of food banks (i.e., not enough food) to meet the needs of clients • etc., it is obvious that Ontario’s most vulnerable households that are already living in or around the margins of poverty will experience the greatest struggle for survival this year and in the unstable future. With insufficient social program funding, low-income working families face additional challenges on top of the current economic crisis. The threat of increased homelessness and poor health outcomes is real and action to protect Ontario families from this threat is URGENT. A comprehensive housing allowance program should be available to ALL low-income working families to help prevent this deepening spiral into poverty. The Petition: We, the undersigned, call on Honourable Jim Bradley, Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing and Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, to acknowledge the limitations of ROOF and to make the following changes to the program: • An extension of ROOF or a permanent long-term housing allowance program • Improve eligibility to adequately serve the housing needs of ALL low-income working families and Ontario’s most vulnerable • Increase the monthly allowance to reflect family size. NOTE: Once you sign the petition, your name will be recorded on our list. You are NOT required to make a donation to iPetitions thereafter (simply close the browser). Thank you in advance for signing :) Please help us spread the word to all of your networks!