If you need emergency shelter or respite, call Central Intake at 416-338-4766. For street outreach services, call 311.

The Canada Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB) program provides households with a portable housing benefit to assist with rental costs in the private housing market. The benefit is tied to the household and can be used to help pay rent anywhere in Ontario.

The application process is not open to the public. There are approximately 120 referring partners, working directly with people experiencing homelessness, asylum seekers and Indigenous people, who will contact eligible applicants.

COHB applicants must reside in Ontario and be on, or eligible to be on, the Centralized Waiting List for social housing.

In keeping with provincial program guidelines, priority will be given to the following groups:

  • persons experiencing homelessness including refugees and asylum seekers
  • survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking
  • Indigenous persons

The COHB pays the difference between 30 per cent of the household’s income and the average market rent in the area. For recipients of social assistance, the COHB will pay the difference between the shelter allowance and the household’s rent and utilities costs. The program is administered by the Province of Ontario and the benefit amount is reviewed every year.

The benefit amount will depend on the recipient’s household size and income. The amount is calculated using a formula that includes household income, the number of people in the household and the local housing market rents in the Service Manager Area.

To receive the COHB, applicants must agree to be removed from the Centralized Waiting List as required by Provincial program guidelines.

Households cannot be receiving COHB and Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) housing or any other form of housing benefit at the same time.

COHB is a portable benefit, which means that it will continue to support recipients wherever they move in Ontario. The benefit amount may change to reflect the average local market rent.

The COHB program ends on March 31, 2029.

A one-time top-up of $13.4 million, jointly funded by the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario, will support approximately 1,350 people to secure housing, helping to relieve pressure on the City’s emergency shelter system. These additional housing benefits will prioritize asylum seekers in addition to other people experiencing homelessness.

This City of Toronto COHB Calculator may be used to assist households eligible for COHB to estimate their expected benefit.

If you have been contacted as an eligible applicant and have completed the application process, the Ontario Ministry of Finance (MOF) will contact you directly to inform you if your application has been approved.

Once approved, you can contact the Province’s Information Centre for questions about your benefit at:

  • 1-888-544-5101
  • 1 800 263-7776 (TTY)

If you are approved to receive this benefit, you are considered to be affordably housed. Your application for Rent-Geared-to-Income housing will be closed and you will be removed from the Centralized Waiting List.

Changes to Benefit Amount

Your benefit amount will be reviewed annually by the Province and may increase or decrease because of changes to your income, your household size or if you move to another location.

If your income decreases by more than 20 per cent, you may request a review of your benefit amount from the MOF midway through a fiscal year.

If you move out of Toronto to another Ontario location, your benefit amount will be calculated according to the average local market rent of the area you will be moving to. It will be modified to reflect the change in rental charges.

All households currently receiving COHB must complete an Annual Renewal each year to ensure continuation of their COHB benefits.

There are two steps to completing the Annual Renewal process:

  1. Submission of Renewal Forms

Every May, program participants are sent an Annual Renewal Application form by email or mail. Eligibility and the COHB benefit amounts are re-assessed yearly during this renewal process.

The Annual Renewal form requires households to review all pre-printed information and to report any changes to their household composition, address, rental amount and income.

Renewal forms must be submitted to the Province by June 30. Paper renewal forms should be mailed to:

Portable Housing Benefit
33 King St W, PO Box 628
Oshawa ON L1H 8J6

Recipients may lose eligibility for the COHB if they fail to submit a renewal application by the deadline.

  1. Completion of Federal Income Tax return

All members of the household over 17 must file a federal income tax return for the most recent year.

If household members have not filed their 2022 income taxes yet, this should be done immediately to ensure they continue to receive the COHB.

The following resources can be used to locate and schedule an appointment to complete income tax returns.

Applicants who do not return their annual renewal application and complete their income tax by the final September 1 deadline will no longer be eligible to receive assistance through the COHB program. Reinstatement into the program is not permitted, as per Provincial program guidelines.

Please contact the Province at 1-888-544-5101:

  • if a renewal form was not received
  • if you have questions about your benefit
  • to provide updated household information