The polar vortex and ice storms 2019 has been throwing at Brantford have been hard enough for everyone in the city. It makes some wonder what people do when they can’t afford a roof over their head.
Affordable housing is the biggest and most expensive struggle for those who rely on social services. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Brantford is $900.
“Affordable housing is a crisis across the country and there really is no panacea for the city to fully address all local affordable housing needs,” Maria Visocchi, the City of Brantford’s director of community engagement, said in an email. “But we do look for innovative tools to add to our toolbox such as local portable housing benefits which target households from the waitlist that are currently adequately housed but just need some help with affordability.”
For a single person, Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) provide housing grants of only $390 and $497 respectively.
There are currently over 1700 families on a wait list for housing rent rates that are catered to their income. Some households are going to wait up to nine years.
Recently, Brantford added 57 units of housing for seniors, which are known as John Noble Apartments. By March 2020, Brantford is expecting to complete 30 units of new supportive housing at Marlene Ave. There is a system in place to financially assist those who are on the wait list and are currently housed but struggle to pay rent.
Brantford, like most Ontario municipalities, relies heavily on provincial and federal funding, as building affordable rental housing is too expensive to rely solely on the city.
Brantford has multiple organizations that provide shelter and services to the homeless population in Brantford and surrounding areas.
One of those organizations is Rosewood House on Nelson Street, which provides emergency shelter services for the homeless. There is also Brantford Native Housing that gives shelter to Indigenous peoples who are of low income.
Another program is Soup for the Soul at St. Andrew’s Church right on campus in Downtown Brantford. The program, which runs Monday and Thursday 3:00-5:00 p.m., gives homeless people nutritious meals and a support system.
The Salvation Army Booth Centre provides a hostel shelter for men. The service includes meals, on-site counselling and emergency accommodations, such as grocery assistance. Nova Vita Domestic Prevention Services takes in women and their children and provides them with a safe, comfortable place to live while they transition through difficult times.