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

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 2019, the Province announced that Peterborough would be part of one of three prototype regions for the Employment Services Transformation across the Province. Beginning January 1, 2021 the City will no longer be delivering Employment Programs. The focus of Ontario Works will be life stabilization supports to clients to
enhance their readiness for employment referrals.

Effective the same date, a 22% reduction in the provincial Ontario Works Administration will take place. The result is a reduction of $1.6 million. In addition to this funding change, the Province capped Ontario Works Administration expenses at the 2018 actuals. Since then, the City cost shares have gradually increased. A restructuring of the Social Services division is taking place in the second half of 2020 to be able to live within the new funding allocation, but more importantly, to better serve our clients in our new role in 2021.

As part of the restructuring, the Community Development Program will move out of the Social Services Division to Community Services. The Homemakers Program and the Poverty Reduction Initiative will remain with the Social Services Division. The Poverty Reduction Initiative program, which is 100% municipally funded, has been reduced by $71,686 in order to support Provincial funding cuts in other Social Services areas. This was a KPMG recommended change.

The 2019 OW actual caseload average was 3,427, and the 2020 budgeted average caseload is 3,428. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the caseload has increased (average caseload for the first six months of 2020 is 3500). Considering the longer term affects of the end of other financial supports, such as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the unknown of its impact on future unemployment rates, the 2021 average caseload has been set at 3701. Mandatory benefits are paid for 100% by the Province.

Provincial funding of OW discretionary benefits is capped at $10 per OW and ODSP cases per month. Following up on the KPMG recommendations, staff continue to examine options to prioritize health needs within the discretionary benefits. The proposed 2021 budget includes a reduction of $142,568 in the City costs based on reducing the costs of the recreation benefit.

 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 2021, there will be an overall increase in licensed childcare spaces in the City and the County, resulting from the closure of two sites in the City and the expansion of spaces in licensed childcare programs in both the City and County. This growth will shift the cost share to 68% City, 32% County in 2021 from 69% City, 31% County in 2020.

In 2019, the Ministry of Education announced several key funding changes to be phased in over the next three years. In 2020, municipalities were asked to cost share the operating portion of Expansion Plan funding at a rate of 80/20 provincial/municipal. In 2021, all Children's Services 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 Children's Services administration funding will be reduced from 10% to 5%. Any administration cost over the threshold amount will be 100% municipal.

In 2021, the Municipal Child Care programs will increase the per diem fees by 2% to help offset increase in costs. In 2020, the municipality received an increase to the EarlyON Child and Family Centre services funding to $1,262,727. This program is 100% provincially funded. It is anticipated that in 2021 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 social services 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 2020 review of the Housing and Homelessness Plan commits to ending chronic homelessness by 2025. Two key initiatives are required to meet this goal: creating more units dedicated to people experiencing homelessness and creating a response to homelessness that is housing-focused and supports people obtain and retain housing.

Highlights

Survey respondents to the 2021 Budget Survey ranked housing and accommodations as the most important issue facing the community.

Housing Services provides ongoing subsidy for social housing providers, ensuring compliance through program and policy support, including operational reviews and providing support for asset management. The social housing portfolio has an assessed value of more than $150 million.

Funding for affordable housing development and housing renovation are provided through the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative and the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative. The City also has a federal-provincial funding allocation in 2021 for portable housing benefits through the Canada Ontario Housing Benefit. Portable housing benefits are provided to people on the By-Name Priority List of people experiencing homelessness.

Homelessness Services has contracts with local partners to provide: rent supplements, housing stability funds, and various services supporting a community-wide homelessness system response. This system is continues to be under financial and service pressures related to increasing numbers of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and social distancing expectations. There continues to be a need to provide an overflow shelter option. Provincial Homelessness funding has been confirmed for the next two years with modest increases over 2020.

Community Development Fund

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. CDP will transition to Community Services, from Social Services, for the
beginning of 2021.

Highlights

Implementation of the Age-friendly Plan will continue in 2021 using innovative ways to engage, educate, and inform older adults and topic and issues that are important to their health and wellbeing. The Age-friendly Coordinator position is a 50/50 City/County cost share. Of this cost, $10,000 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. This program is an 80/20 cost share between the Province/City and County.
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 at 2020 levels and is reviewed on an annual basis.

Other key program areas that will advance in 2021 include rural transportation, food security, 211, rural outreach, access to recreation, diversity and inclusion, and the Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan.

2021 Overview

Social Assistance
Description2021 recommended
Expenditures $44,912,151
Revenues, County $832,249
Revenues, Provincial $39,766,318
Net requirement $4,313,584
Children's Services
Description2021 recommended
Expenditures $18,666,053
Revenues, County $768,441
Revenues, Provincial $16,264,366
Net requirement $1,633,246
Housing and Homelessness
Description2021 recommended
Expenditures $21,625,875
Revenues, County $6,053,495
Revenues, Provincial $9,892,805
Net requirement $5,679,574
Community Development Fund
Description2021 recommended
Expenditures $427,594
Revenues $200,691
Net requirement $226,903