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Ford government snubbing Ottawa on homelessness funding, Liberals say


Liberal MPPs are calling on the Ford government to boost homelessness funding for Ottawa, saying the province is shortchanging the city.

"When we heard about the funding for Ottawa, everybody thought it was a mistake," Ottawa—Vanier MPP Lucille Collard told a news conference at Queen's Park on Tuesday.

"Like, seriously? That's got to be a joke. There are some zeroes missing."

Ottawa is receiving an increase of $845,000 under the province's homelessness prevention program compared to last year. By comparison, Toronto is receiving over $40 million.

"Once again, Doug Ford is abandoning the city of Ottawa and its residents," said Ottawa South MPP John Fraser, the Liberal interim leader.

The call comes two weeks after Mayor Mark Sutcliffe made a similar plea in a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Based on Toronto's allocation, Ottawa should receive at least $16 to $18 million, he said.

City staff said 54 affordable housing units are at risk of being cancelled over the next 18 months if there isn't a higher funding increase.

In a statement Tuesday, Sutcliffe says he's in regular contact with provincial officials. 

"I am continuing to communicate closely and regularly with senior leaders in the provincial government to ensure Ottawa’s specific needs are understood and we receive our fair share of funding. I will provide an update as soon as there is new information to share," he said.

Fraser said organizations that deal with homelessness in Ottawa are upset and they're concerned.

"It's not a political or partisan thing. It's just simply going to mess up the city's plan."

The ministry of municipal affairs and housing told CTV News last month that Ottawa was receiving disproportionately higher funding under the previous model.

Housing minister Steve Clark said Ottawa is getting the second highest level of funding in the province.

"Our government is investing nearly $48.5 million annually for the City of Ottawa in homelessness prevention funding - this is the second-highest amount of funding for any service manager in Ontario.

"Unlike the previous model, our updated model allocates funding fairly province-wide based on clear indicators of local need and the most recent census data. This responds to the Auditor General’s 2021 value-for-money audit of homelessness funding, which found funding models implemented by the previous government relied on outdated data, did not properly reflect local need and were at times made without any documentation or clear explanation as to how the money was allocated. The updated model uses indicators such as a community’s share of homelessness, supportive housing units, low-income households, deep core housing need, and Indigenous and youth populations."

Fraser said the lack of funding is a symptom of a larger lack of respect on the Ford government's part for Ottawa, pointing to its handling of last year's derecho storm and the 'Freedom Convoy' protests.

"I think the Conservative MPPs in Ottawa think that they represent Queen's Park in Ottawa, when they should be representing Ottawa at Queen's Park," Fraser said. "And if they were doing that, you wouldn't see this."

Ottawa does not have a representative in Ford's cabinet after Merrilee Fullerton resigned in March.

--With files from CTV News Ottawa's Leah Larocque. Top Stories

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