Social Housing FAQs

What is social housing? 

Social housing is a general term used to describe housing that was built with government funding and includes non-profit, co-operative and public housing.  Non-profit and co-operative housing often provides mixed-income housing meaning there is a mix of rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units and market rent units.  Some social housing in Ontario may be built without government funding.  To learn more about social housing providers in Leeds Grenville follow the link to the Directory of Social Housing in Leeds Grenville.

What is Affordable housing?

Affordable housing within the context of social housing refers to housing that was built under various "Affordable Housing" initiatives by the Ontario government.  Affordable housing rent is approximately 80 per cent of the average market rent in the area as published by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).  Affordable housing is not rent-geared-to-income; however, affordable rent is lower than private market rents.  To learn more about affordable housing follow the link to Affordable Housing.

What does rent-geared-to-income (RGI) mean?

Rent-geared-to-income (RGI) means that rent is based on gross household income.  Base RGI is approximately 30% of gross household income plus a utility charge (if utilities are included) or minus a utility allowance if utilities are not included. 

What are market rent units?

Some non-profit and co-operative housing providers offer both RGI units and market units.  Market rent in a non-profit or co-operative housing complex is generally lower than private market rents, making market rent units with these housing providers more affordable for low and moderate income households. 

Who is eligible for rent-geared-to-income housing?

To be eligible for rent-geared-to-income (subsidized) housing, the household must meet the following criteria:

  1. At least one member of the household must be 16 years old or older and able to live independently. 
  2. Each member of the household must be a Canadian citizen, or applied for status as a permanent resident, or made a claim for refugee protection under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), and no removal order has become enforceable against any member of the household.
  3. No member of the household owes arrears for a previous tenancy with any social housing provider in Ontario.
  4. No member of a household shall have a conviction of misrepresenting their income for the purposes of receiving rent-geared-to-income assistance under the Housing Services Act, or the Criminal Code (Canada) within the last two years.
  5. Gross household income of all members of the household shall not exceed the household income limits as set out in Schedule 2 of O. Reg. 370/11, or as amended from time to time, for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Who is eligible for Affordable housing?

To qualify for affordable housing, the household must:

  1. Be eligible for rent-geared-to-income assistance,
  2. Meet the minimum age requirement of the affordable housing complex selected in the Application for Subsidized Housing if applicable, and 
  3. Provide Verification of Disability or Medical Condition if applying for a modified (accessible) unit.  

What is the Social Housing Registry?

The Social Housing Registry determines eligibility for rent-geared-to-income assistance and manages the centralized waiting list for Leeds Grenville.  Eligible applicants are ranked chronologically based on the date their application is complete with all supporting documents.  The Special Priority Household Category is the only priority on the centralized waiting list and eligible Special Priority households rank higher than chronologically ranked applicants.  

How can I apply for rent-geared-to-income housing and/or affordable housing?

To apply for social and affordable housing, applicant households must complete an Application for Subsidized Housing, provide proof of citizenship or status in Canada, and submit the most recent Notice of Assessment for all persons over the age of 18 included in the application.  To request a copy of your Notice of Assessment, contact the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281.  Applications can be submitted to the attention of the Social Housing Registry at any social housing provider office or any Community and Social Services office

Apply directly to the non-profit/co-operative housing provider if you are interested in a Market rent unit.  See the Directory of Social Housing for non-profit and co-operative housing providers. 

What is the Special Priority Household Category?

The Special Priority Household Category can be requested by any household member who is or has been abused by another member of the household.  A household may be included in the special priority category if all of the following criteria exist:

  • a member of the household has been abused by another individual,
  • the abusing individual is or was living with the abused member or sponsoring the
  • abused member as an immigrant; and
  • the abused member intends to live permanently apart from the abusing individual.

Application for Special Priority should be made within three months of separating from the abuser, if the abused member and the abusing individual are no longer living together.    

Follow the link to the Request for Special Priority Household Category or request it at any Community and Social Services office.

What happens after I've been determined eligible for rent-geared-to-income assistance?

As an eligible applicant, you are required to keep your information up-to-date to maintain your eligible status.  Offers for rent-geared-to-income housing are made by telephone and it is your responsibility to notify the Social Housing Registry if:

  • you move; give us your new address and/or telephone number,
  • there are changes to your household (e.g. a baby is born, or a person included on your application no longer lives with the household), or
  • you have a change in income.

To report a change, complete an Update/Change of Information form and submit it to the Social Housing Registry. 

What size unit do I qualify for? 

The largest unit size a household qualifies for is one bedroom for spouses/same sex partners and one bedroom for each additional household member.  The smallest unit size a household may occupy under local occupancy standards is one bedroom for every two household members.  Dependent children sharing a bedroom should be the same sex and have a difference in age of five years or less.  For more information follow the link to Occupancy Standards

When will I be contacted for an offer of accommodation?

Waiting times for rent-geared-to-income housing vary depending on the building preferences you selected on your application and it could be six months to several years.  You will be contacted by telephone when your name is ranked at the top of the waiting list for your preferred location(s).  Therefore, it is very important to make sure that your application and contact information is always up-to-date.

What if I want to transfer from one rent-geared-to-income (RGI) unit to another?

Each non-profit and co-operative housing provider has its own internal transfer policy.  If you wish to transfer to another RGI unit with the same housing provider, you must apply to the non-profit/co-operative housing administrator where you live.  If you want to transfer to a unit with another housing provider, you must apply through the Social Housing Registry. 

Households requesting a transfer for medical reasons must also submit a Verification of Disability or Medical Condition completed by a qualified health professional.  A transfer fee of $250 must be paid before you transfer.