Ontario Protects Homeless Shelters Against COVID-19

Published on March 10, 2021

Over $6 million in additional funding to keep vulnerable people in Waterloo Region safe

March 10, 2021


WATERLOO REGION —The Ontario government is providing $6,617,514 to help the Region of Waterloo keep vulnerable people safe. The new funding will protect homeless shelter staff and residents and help prevent more people from becoming homeless.


“We’ve heard firsthand from our regional partners about the additional pressures COVID-19 has put on the housing and shelter system,” said Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris and Kitchener South- Hespeler MPP Amy Fee. “Today’s announcement brings the total investment in Waterloo Region through the Social Service Relief Fund to nearly $20 million and will go towards supporting frontline workers and ensuring safe housing and shelter is there when it is needed most.”


This new phase of the Social Service Relief Fund builds on the previously announced allocations of $3,350,700 during Phase 1 and $9,882,949 during phase 2 bringing the total amount received by the Region of Waterloo to $19,851,163.


“This is another positive step forward on our journey here at Waterloo Region,” said Region of Waterloo Chair Karen Redman. “This Phase 3 of funding in social services relief money will allow the Region to continue the work that we started at the beginning of COVID-19 to address inequities and homelessness and we look forward to the positive impact this funding will continue to bring.”


Today’s announcement is part of the province’s additional $255 million investment through the Social Services Relief Fund. Municipal service managers and Indigenous program partners can use the funding to acquire motel and hotel spaces to support physical distancing of shelter residents, hire more shelter staff, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, and add to rent and utility banks to prevent more people from becoming homeless.


“Our government is once again taking immediate action to save lives by responding to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in some emergency shelters across the province,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This investment will ensure our municipal service managers can keep vulnerable people and shelter workers safe by providing them with the financial ability to take any means necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 in shelter spaces.”


Under the Social Services Relief Fund, Ontario has provided $765 million to help service managers and Indigenous program partners support shelters, create longer-term housing solutions and help vulnerable Ontarians affected by COVID-19, including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.



  • Ontario launched the Social Services Relief Fund in March 2020 to help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people during COVID-19.
  • As part of its Community Housing Renewal Strategy and response to COVID-19, Ontario is investing approximately $1.75 billion in 2020-2021 to help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness. This includes the Social Services Relief Fund.