Ontario Protects Homeless Shelters Against COVID-19

Published on March 22, 2021

Additional funding will help keep vulnerable people safe in York Region

The Ontario government is providing $10,769,029 to help The Regional Municipality of York respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases in some emergency shelters and help keep vulnerable people safe. The new funding will protect homeless shelter staff and residents, and help prevent more people from becoming homeless.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our local service providers in York Region have been working closely with local homeless and emergency shelters to provide critical services to some of our most vulnerable community members,” said Christine Elliott, MPP for Newmarket-Aurora.  “Today’s announcement of over $10.7 million for York Region will help support these efforts and help protect shelter residents and staff against COVID-19.”

“Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic the health, safety and well-being of all residents has been the top priority of York Regional Council,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “Thanks to the provincial government’s continued support, York Region is able to ensure appropriate measures are in place in our emergency shelters to keep our most vulnerable residents and those who support them safe and healthy.”

This 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.


“The announcement of $10,769,028 in new Phase 3 funding for York Region brings the total allocation to $32,304,843.  These funds will support acquiring motel and hotel spaces to support physical distancing of shelter residents, hiring more shelter staff, purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, and adding to rent and utility banks to prevent more people from becoming homeless.” 

Paul Calandra, MPP for Markham-Stouffville

“Our government continues to respond to the ongoing needs of pandemic with significant investments for our municipal partners by providing more flexible funding to keep our vulnerable citizens safe during these difficult times.  We know that this pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a place to call home, and this additional funding will help ensure everyone can find – and keep – a safe and secure roof over their head.”

Stephen Lecce, MPP for King-Vaughan

“Ontario has seen the impact that the pandemic has had on vulnerable people in our communities.  This funding will ensure that vulnerable people receive the support they need, while protecting them against COVID-19.”

Caroline Mulroney, MPP for York-Simcoe

“Our government is proud to be providing much-needed supports to our local municipalities, so that individuals and families across York Region, including right here in Vaughan-Woodbridge, have access the services and supports they depend on each and every day. With the COVID-19 pandemic, our local governments have been forced to adapt to a situation that has been rapidly and constantly evolving. Our government will continue working collaboratively with Ontario’s municipalities, so that we can fight and defeat this deadly virus.”

Michael Tibollo, MPP for Vaughan-Woodbridge

"I am thrilled to announce this $10,769,029 million investment for the Regional Municipality of York to help keep shelters and other emergency residences safe during the pandemic. As we continue in the fight against COVID-19, nobody should have to choose between their health and seeking a safe place to sleep at night. This investment will ensure that safe options are available for people struggling with housing insecurity."

Logan Kanapathi, MPP for Markham-Thornhill

"Today's announcement of $10,769,029 to York Region is welcoming news to support service managers and vulnerable residents across this municipality. As part of the Social Services Relief Fund, this new provincial funding will protect homeless shelter staff and residents and help keep vulnerable people of Markham-Unionville safe."

Billy Pang, MPP for Markham-Unionville

“This is exciting news for our community. Our government is investing additional funds to continue protecting our most vulnerable. With an increased funding of nearly $11 million, we are better equipped to support our staff and residents in shelters and to help Ontarians at risk of homelessness.”

Michael Parsa, MPP for Aurora-Oakridges-Richmond Hill

"We understand that the Service Managers and Homeless Shelter Operators are facing operating pressures as they deal with the pandemic. Our government is committed to protecting all Ontarians, especially during this difficult time. Our government is investing $225 million in Social Services Relief Funding to provide motel and hotel spaces to support the physical distancing of shelter residents, hire more shelter staff; purchase PPE and cleaning supplies as needed to protect homeless shelter staff and vulnerable residents experiencing homelessness right now".

Daisy Wai, MPP for Richmond Hill


  • 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.