The City of Peterborough provides social services including Social Assistance, Children's Services, Housing and Homelessness and the Community Development Program.

Proposed Social Services 2020 budget

Highlights

Social Assistance
Social Assistance provides personnel and other client program costs to deliver Financial Assistance and Employment Services. Eligible residents receive help with costs of food, shelter, clothing and health related items, as well as job search and skills training.

Highlights

In April 2019, the Ministry announced the cancellation of the Addiction Services Program effective July 31, 2019. This led to the reduction of 4.0 full-time-equivalent staff in addition to the end of the service contract with the addictions treatment provider FourCast. There are no costs for this program in 2020.

The Ministry announced that funding for Ontario Works (OW) Administration in 2019 and 2020 would be frozen at 2018 actual expenditure levels. The province continues to work towards reforming the social assistance system with a focus on improving service delivery, employment outcomes and accountability. This is likely to include a review and implementation of a new funding model in 2021.

In 2019, the Province announced that Peterborough would be part of one of three prototype regions for the Employment Services Transformation across the Province. Peterborough has applied as part of a consortium with the other three municipalities in our prototype region to become the service system manager, which will be determined by the end of 2019. Regardless of the successful candidate, the City will no longer be delivering the full suite of Employment Programs that it currently does. The program delivery funding allocation will be reduced effective Oct 2020. Full details are not known at this time.

The 2018 OW caseload year end average was 3599, a decrease of 6.5% from the 2018 budgeted caseload of 3850. The 2019 projected caseload has been readjusted to 3470 from the 2019 budgeted caseload of 3675. The OW caseload increased in 2nd quarter of 2019. The 2020 average monthly caseload is estimated to remain at 3470.

Provincial funding of OW discretionary benefits is capped at $10 per OW and ODSP cases per month.

 Children's Services
The City of Peterborough provides personnel and other support costs to deliver Children’s Services for the early years and childcare programs. Fee subsidy to eligible families, operating grants to licensed child care providers, Special Needs Resources and parenting programs result in quality care for children and allows families to attend to their employment, training and parenting needs.

Highlights

In 2020, there will be an increase in licensed childcare spaces in the City and the County, primarily due to expansion of spaces in three licensed childcare programs. This growth will shift the cost share to 69% City, 31% County in 2020 from 70% City, 30% County in 2019.

In 2019, the Ministry of Education announced several key funding changes to be phased in over the next three years. In 2020, municipalities will be asked to cost share the operating portion of Expansion Plan funding at a rate of 80/20 provincial/municipal. This funding was previously provided at 100% by the Province. It is estimated the 2020 municipal contribution would be $436,000 cost shared 69% City, 31% County. The municipality will receive the 80% provincial share regardless of whether a municipal contribution is made. In 2021, all childcare administrative funding will be cost shared at a rate of 50/50 with municipalities. Previously most administration funding was at 100%. In 2022, the threshold for allowable childcare administration funding will be reduced from 10% to 5%. Any administration cost over the threshold amount will be 100% municipal. Another change that occurred in 2019 was the cancellation of the Fee Stabilization Support that began in 2018 to increase wages and other compensation to Early Childhood Educators and to stabilize child care fees. It was cancelled effective March 31, 2019.

With the introduction of the above funding reductions, it was proposed that the City close its Municipal Child Care programs as of June 30, 2020. The savings from the closure, estimated to be approximately $570,000 would help fund the 20% expansion plan contribution as well as offset future admin costs. Although the closure has not been decided yet, the budget has been presented with only the costs for all the Municipal Child Care programs for the period of January 1 to June 30, 2020.

In 2019, the municipality received $1.236,657 in operating funding for the delivery of local EarlyON Child and Family Centre services. This program was 100% provincially funded in 2019. It is anticipated that in 2020 this funding will remain the same with no changes to the municipal cost share requirements.

 Housing and Homelessness

The City of Peterborough is the Service Manager for Housing and Homelessness Services. The division is responsible for administering, funding, overseeing standards, and providing capacity building for approximately 2,000 social housing units, 1,569 of which are Rent Geared to Income. Social Housing projects are owned and managed by 16 non-profit organizations and Peterborough Housing Corporation. Housing and Homelessness services are also responsible for providing housing options across the continuum of housing needs, from shelters, transitional and supportive housing to Rent Geared to Income (RGI) and affordable rental units. The Housing and Homelessness Plan details priorities to meet the complex and unique housing needs of the community.

Highlights

Survey respondents to the 2020 Budget Survey ranked housing and accommodations as the most important issue facing the community. The City is required to provide 1,569 units of Rent Geared to Income (RGI) housing, by providing ongoing subsidy for social housing providers, ensuring compliance through policy and program support, including operational reviews, and support for asset management. The social housing portfolio has an assessed value in excess of $150 million.

Housing and Homelessness Services have contracts with local partners to provide: rent supplements, housing stability funds, Peterborough Renovates, Housing Access Peterborough, and homelessness sheltering services and supports. The Centralized Waiting List for RGI assistance currently administered by Housing Access Peterborough will be moved into the Social Services Division in 2020. City and County residents will have integrated access to the waiting list for social housing, Ontario Works, employment and children’s services supports.

New three-year federal provincial funding under the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative is providing funds for the development of new below market rental housing, rent supplements, homeownership loans and renovation assistance. The Canada Ontario Community Housing Initiative, a new federal provincial funding program, prioritizes Urban Native Housing Providers for repair and renewal funding.

Provincial Homelessness funding has been confirmed for the next three years with no decrease in funding and modest increases in the last two years. Service agreements with most homelessness funded programs expire March 31, 2020 and will require renewal and renegotiation. A report will come forward to Council in the fall of 2019.

 Community Development Program

The Community Development Program (CDP) will continue to improve the well-being of residents in the City and County through the delivery of projects, information, referrals, and support to enhance social development and fill service gaps.

Highlights

Implementation of the Age-friendly Plan will increase in 2020 with hiring of the Age-friendly Coordinator in mid-2019. The cost of this position is a 50/50 City/County cost share. $10,000 of this cost will be covered through other community resources.

The Homemakers program assists low-income seniors and others with housekeeping services to allow them to remain in their homes if possible.

Funding support is being provided to the United Way ($14,500), Ontario 211 ($21,811) and food security programs ($21,224) on a 50/50 City/County cost share. Funding to Community Care Peterborough ($21,648) is paid 100% by the City. This funding is reviewed on an annual basis.