Giving Someone a Chance at Housing Stability

9 May 2021

To help people in Toronto keep or get housing, the City provides money for emergency housing needs through the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF), administered by the Toronto Employment and Social Services division (TESS).

The HSF helps cover the cost of things like moving within the Toronto area, rent arrears, dealing with bed bugs, setting up a residence in Toronto and last month’s rent. To qualify for help from the fund, someone needs to be receiving financial assistance through Ontario Works or income support through the Ontario Disability Support Program.

All names are changed to protect the privacy of complainants.
We heard from Ashley, a Toronto resident who was unsatisfied with the City’s final decision to deny her request for last month’s rent assistance through the HSF. Ashley believed that City staff had denied her request because they incorrectly assumed her rent was more than 85% of her income, which would disqualify her. However, Ashley explained to us that she rented out a room in her apartment, which meant that her net rent was in fact within 85% of her income. After reviewing her file, we also had concerns about the adequacy of the reasons the City gave Ashley for denying her request.

We spoke with TESS, who agreed to review Ashley’s case again. Additionally, it committed to giving her its final decision in writing, clearly setting out the reasons for the decision.

After reviewing her case, TESS changed its original decision and gave Ashley last month’s rent support through the HSF.We e

Why This Matters: Decisions the City makes often have significant consequences for people’s lives. That’s why it’s important as a matter of fairness for the City to consider all information relevant to the situation when making a decision, provide reasons for the decision they make and, when appropriate, change their decision if it’s found to be unfair. We made sure it did so in Ashley’s case.