FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I OWN MY OWN HOME. DO I STILL QUALIFY?

You can apply, but if your residential property can be used all year (even if not in Canada), you must sell it within six months (180 days) after receiving subsidized housing.


I DO NOT HAVE AN INCOME. AM I ELIGIBLE FOR SUBSIDIZED HOUSING?

Yes, but once you are housed you must pursue income from one or more of the following sources:

  • Ontario Works (OW)
  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • Spousal or child support
  • Employment Insurance
  • Guaranteed Annual Income (GAINS), Old Age Security (OAS) and/or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
  • Support or maintenance from a sponsor under the Immigration Act

Failure to pursue a specific type of income within the required time frame may result in a decision of ineligibility.


WHAT DOES ‘LIVING INDEPENDENTLY’ MEAN?

An individual is considered to be able to live independently if they are able to perform the essential activities of day-to-day living, or can do so with the aid of support services and demonstrates that those support services will be provided when they are required.


THE TYPES OF HOUSING YOU CAN APPLY FOR

Non-Profit Housing:

Non-Profits are owned and operated by community-based, non-profit organizations. They are either self-managed or managed through a property management company.

Co-operative Housing:

Co-operative Non-Profits are similar to other non-profit housing corporations, except each resident becomes a member and has a say in how the co-operative is operated. Each member is expected to help in the day-to-day operations and the Board of Directors is established from members of the co-operative.

Local Housing Corporation:

Properties owned and operated by the service manager area or county with Board of Director’s appointed by the service manager or county.

Rent Supplement:

Rent supplement is a program that offers eligible applicants subsidized housing in privately owned buildings. While residing in a market rent unit, the tenant’s rent is subsidized based on the household income. The service manager area or local housing corporation pays the difference between the subsidized amount the tenant pays and the market value.

Affordable Housing Program:

Some areas may have buildings that fall under a funding model for the Affordable Housing Program where rent is set at less than or equal to average market rent levels determined by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.


CAN I CHOOSE WHERE I WANT TO LIVE?

You can select any location you wish so long as you are eligible for the unit and community. It is important to make sure that you only pick the places where you really want to live.


DO I GET TO PICK HOW MANY BEDROOMS I WANT?

The number of bedrooms is determined by the occupancy standards that apply to your household size. Each centralized waiting list administrator area will confirm what size of unit you are eligible for.


WHAT IF I NEED AN ACCESSIBLE UNIT?

Many locations have units that are accessible to people who require a wheelchair or have other physical limitations.

If you require a unit that is wheelchair accessible, please indicate on the application form. Each waiting list administrator will request more information from you and perhaps have your physician or other medical professional complete a specific form which will be reviewed for eligibility.


HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ME TO BE OFFERED A UNIT?

The length of time before a unit comes available will vary depending on the area and the locations you choose. Your centralized waiting list administrator will be able to tell you more about the length of the waiting list for the locations you pick.


HOW ARE PEOPLE CHOSEN FOR HOUSING?

The system for selecting households is based primarily on the date of application (also referred to as the chronological selection process). When a vacancy occurs, the housing provider will choose the next applicant on the waiting list.

Special priority may be given to your application if you are a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking. Please refer to the section on Special Priority if you believe you may qualify for this status.

Some areas may have other types of priority based on local policies. 

For more information about priority placement on a waiting list, contact the waiting list administrator.


WHAT HAPPENS WHILE I AM WAITING FOR HOUSING?

It is important that you keep your file up-to-date. You must notify the centralized waiting list administrator(s) for the area(s) you have selected about any changes in the information you have provided on your application. You must do this within 30 business days of the change occurring, for example:

  • You change your address, phone numbers or email address
  • You want to live in locations other than those you chose on your application
  • The number of people in your household changes
  • The contact person on your application changes
  • Your income changes
  • Your immigration status changes

Failure to update this information may result in your application being removed from the waiting list and you will have to re-apply.


HOW WILL I BE CONTACTED FOR AN OFFER?

Please make sure that the centralized waiting list administrator(s) have a daytime telephone number so you can be called when a unit becomes available. If you cannot be reached during the day, it would be helpful if you gave a telephone number of a contact person who can be reached during the day, so they can pass on the message to you.

Some areas may also communicate this information via email if you have selected that as your preferred method of communication and have consented to receive communications containing personal information via email.


HOW MANY TIMES CAN I TURN DOWN AN OFFER OF HOUSING?

When you are offered housing, you will receive a single offer.  If you turn down this offer, you will no longer be eligible for subsidized housing and you will be removed from the waiting list.


WHAT IS SPECIAL PRIORITY STATUS?

There is a section in the application form where you may indicate if you believe you qualify for special priority.

Special Priority Status is intended to help victims of abuse permanently separate from their abuser.

Special Priority Status:

  • Is only given to applicants whose safety is at risk because they live with someone who is abusing them
  • Does not apply to applicants who want to separate from someone because a relationship is not working
  • Provides approved households a higher placement ahead of others on the centralized wait list for subsidized housing

You may qualify for Special Priority Status if you are eligible for subsidized housing and you, or a member of your household (16 years old or older):

  • Are currently living with someone abusing you or another person in your household or are a sponsored immigrant and your sponsor is abusing you or another household member
  • You used to live with someone that was abusing you or another person in your household, and stopped living with them three months ago or less
  • Plan to live permanently apart from the abuser
  • You are a victim of human trafficking currently being trafficked, or you are a survivor of human trafficking and have exited trafficking within the last three months or less

How do I apply for Special Priority Status?

To apply for special priority status as a victim of domestic abuse or a victim of human trafficking, you will be required to submit specific forms requesting the priority and supporting documentation. Contact your waiting list administrator for more information about their verification process.


HOW MUCH RENT CAN I EXPECT TO PAY?

Generally, subsidized rent is based on 30 per cent of your household’s total gross monthly income. Additional charges may apply depending on the building (i.e. parking).

If you are receiving assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, your rent is based on a pre-determined rent scale.

When you rent is calculated, all assets of the household are also taken into consideration.


DEFINITION OF INCOME

‘Income’ means ALL income, benefits and gains of every kind and from every source.
Gross income must be reported (amount before deductions and taxes.)

EXAMPLES OF INCOME:

Work/benefits/education

  • Full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal
  • Self-employed
  • Disability pay, sickness pay, long term income protection plan, Employment Insurance, etc.
  • Commissions, overtime pay, vacation pay, bonuses, etc.
  • Support payments received
  • Maternity leave top-up by employer
  • Full/part-time student

Pension

  • Old Age Security (OAS)
  • Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS)/ Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
  • Canada/Provincial Pension Plan - (CPP), (QPP)
  • Government pensions from other countries
  • Company pensions, private pensions, etc.
  • Civilian war pensions
  • Public service pensions

Payments and allowances

  • Workers Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) payments
  • Ontario Works (OW)
  • Ontario Disability Support Plan (ODSP)
  • Military or Militia or Civil Defense allowance
  • Immigration allowance
  • War Veteran’s allowances
  • Training allowances
  • Payments from Children’s Aid Society

DEFINITION OF ASSETS

‘Assets’ include any savings, investments and property owned by any member of your household over the age of 16.

EXAMPLES OF INCOME PRODUCING ASSETS:

  • Bank accounts (savings accounts and chequing accounts, Tax-Free Savings Accounts (cash), overseas or foreign accounts, etc.)
  • Investments (stocks and bonds, annuities, stocks, shares, bonds, term deposits, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), mutual funds, overseas or foreign investments, Tax-Free Savings Accounts (investments), etc.)
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
  • A licence which gives you income (i.e. taxi licence)
  • Property (home, cottage, land)

EXAMPLES OF NON-INCOME PRODUCING ASSETS:

  • Life insurance that has a cash surrender value
  • RRSPs
  • Real estate that does not give you income
  • Personal motor vehicles
  • Prepaid funerals

You must declare any assets (house, property, etc.) you transferred within the last 36 months, by sale, gift, lease to someone who is not part of the household. This is also considered a non-income producing asset for rent calculation purposes.


CAN A HOUSING PROVIDER TURN ME DOWN?

If a housing provider decides not to offer you a unit, you will be told in writing about the reason for denying you. You may request a review of that decision.

A housing provider can refuse to offer accommodation to an applicant for the following reasons:

  • A housing provider can refuse an applicant if the household does not meet the provider’s mandate. For example, a housing provider with a senior citizen mandate could refuse an applicant because the provider is unable to house anyone under age 65.
  • A housing provider can refuse an applicant based on the household’s rental history, that the household may fail to fulfil its obligations to pay rent for the unit in the amount and at the times the rent is due.
  • The housing provider is a non-profit housing co-operative and the household does not agree to accept its responsibilities as a member of the housing provider or the housing provider has reasonable grounds to believe that the household will not accept or will be unable to accept those responsibilities.
  • The unit is one in which individuals will reside in a shared living situation and the housing provider has reasonable grounds to believe that it is unreasonable for the household to reside in the shared accommodation.
  • In the case of special needs housing, a housing provider can refuse an applicant if the level of service required by the household is significantly greater or significantly less than the level of service that can be provided by the support services provider.