Ford announces $42M to help house refugees, at-risk people

By The Canadian Press

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province is adding $42 million in funding to a portable housing benefit, with more than half going to the city of Toronto, which is struggling to accommodate a rise in refugee and asylum claimants.

The premier says the money through the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit will help about 4,000 new households, going toward moving more people into housing and freeing up shelter space.

City officials in Toronto say the number of asylum seekers in Toronto’s shelter system grew by 500 per cent in 20 months.

RELATED: Toronto’s budget shortfall expected to top agenda at Chow, Ford meeting

The federal government in the summer announced $97 million for Toronto to help deal with the issue, but Ford and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow have said it falls short of the $157 million the city needed.

Chow and Ford are meeting at the legislature today, and the mayor is expected to ask the premier to help Toronto deal with a budget shortfall estimated at $1.5 billion.

City council voted earlier this month to bring in a new surtax on high-value home sales and ask the provincial government to use its authority to bring in a municipal sales tax for Toronto, or to give the city a portion of its existing Harmonized Sales Tax.

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