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The waiting list for subsidized or rent-geared-to-income housing through Access to Housing is long and you may need other options until something is available. Did you know that there are different types of subsidized housing you may be eligible for including supportive housing and alternative housing? Learn where to apply for subsidized housing.

You can also contact a Housing Help Centre to get help to find and keep housing.

Some housing providers prefer to take applications directly, rather than through Access to Housing. These are usually known as “alternative housing providers” and may have specific eligibility criteria.

See a map and list of the places you can submit applications to specific housing providers as well as the locations for Access to Housing, Access Point, Developmental Services Ontario and the Centre for Independent Living.

To maximize your chances of getting a subsidized unit, it is a good idea to submit an application with Access to Housing even if you apply elsewhere.

A housing allowance is a non-repayable subsidy to help eligible households pay rent. The allowance is paid directly to the individual, so it can be used in the private market, and it is portable, within Toronto, so it moves where they move. Housing allowances are federally and provincially funded.

Demand for allowances is always greater than supply so they have been targeted at specific groups including people experiencing chronic homelessness. This benefit is not available to the general public.

Current Target Groups

People experiencing chronic homelessness: Applications for this stream should be submitted through a City-funded shelter or Streets to Homes. Applicants must currently be experiencing homelessness and either, a) have a total of at least 6 months (180 nights) of homelessness over the past year, or b) have recurrent experiences of homelessness over the past 3 years, with a total duration of at least 18 month (546 nights). Applicants also need to meet additional eligibility criteria.

General Criteria

  • Canadian citizen, or landed immigrant (permanent resident), or an applicant for permanent resident status, or refugee, or refugee claimant
  • Currently live in the City of Toronto
  • Have the previous year’s income tax return completed
  • Not currently receive rent-geared-to-income assistance or other housing benefit
  • Do not have arrears with a Social Housing Provider or do have arrears with a repayment plan in good standing
  • Do not own a home suitable for year round occupation
  • Have a household income that is below the Household Income Limit for Toronto, calculated by household size
  • Pay a rent that is not more than 30% above the Average Market Rent

Other Important Aspects of Housing Allowances

  • Housing allowances are different from Rent Geared-to-Income (RGI). This is a fixed monthly subsidy available subject to annual eligibility verification. Housing allowances are also portable; households can move elsewhere in Toronto while in the program.
  • Allowances can impact those on Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP): The shelter component of these programs may be reduced in certain circumstances. This occurs if the OW or ODSP shelter component plus the allowance is greater than rent paid. In this case, the OW/ODSP shelter component payment is reduced by the difference between the total benefit amounts received (through housing allowance and the OW/ODSP shelter component) and rent. With the exception of the shelter component adjustment noted above, participation in this housing allowance program should not impact the payment of OW or ODSP.
  • You must file a Tax Return to be eligible for housing allowances. The most current income tax return is used to verify household income.
  • Housing allowances are available if sharing rent with a non-family roommate. May share rent with a roommate who is not a family member. However, you the applicant must list your share of the rent only.
  • Payments are usually directly to you the tenant. However, arrangements can be made to have payments made to the landlord.
  • Housing allowances should not affect other government benefits. Housing Allowances should not impact payments from other government programs such as the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security or the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Supportive housing can be a good option for people with special situations. Follow these links to apply directly for supportive housing: