Canadian Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB)

Community Living Essex County prepared this resource document on the Canadian Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB).

Canada Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB)

Information Sheet
May 13, 2020

The Canada Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB) was announced Monday by the City of Windsor Housing Services. The purpose of this program is to increase flexibility and affordability of rental housing for low-income households. It is jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments. The housing needs of vulnerable populations have been categorized in 2 priority groups.

First priority:
• Survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking
• Persons experiencing or are at risk of homelessness
• Indigenous persons
• Seniors, and
• People with disabilities
Second priority
• Households or Persons living in community housing that are not receiving affordability support (e.g., rent supplements, housing allowances)
• Households no longer receiving financial assistance as a result of expiring federal-provincial programs or social housing operating agreements (e.g. end of operating agreements, expiring rent supplement programs)

COHB Program Highlights
• Portable housing benefit meaning that it is not tied to a specific housing unit – it is tied to the person. This means of the person moves, the benefit moves with them.
• Benefit is income-based
• Benefit is paid directly to the person
• The application must be completed with Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (CHC)
• The CHC submits the application to the Ministry of Finance whole is the approval body
• All future correspondence and updates will be directly between the Ministry of Finance and the person.
• The person is not required to update changes in income throughout the year. The Ministry of Finance will catch the change during their annual review of the person’s Notice of Assessment. If the income change amends the benefit, it is effective as of the annual review. It is not retroactive – no penalty or recovery of benefit is assessed.

COHB Eligibility
• Person must be on the Central Housing Registry (CHR)waitlist for social housing or deemed eligible by CHR to be on the housing waitlist
• Person is in housing need and living in community housing
• No member of a household receiving a COHB benefit may receive or be part of a household that receives RGI assistance, more than one COHB benefit, or another government-funded housing benefit (e.g., housing allowance under the Investment in Affordable Housing program) at the same time, except for social assistance shelter payments.
• Two roommates living in a 2 bedroom apartment would apply independently as a 1 bedroom
• A person living in their family home and paying rent could qualify for COHB benefits.

• Begins April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2029, subject to annual budget approval
NOTE: Applications submitted by June 30, 2020, are retroactive to April 1, 2020.

COHB Benefit Calculation
The benefit is calculated based on the difference between 30 % of the person’s income and 80% of the average market rent in Windsor/Essex (the rates used by the Ministry of Finance are not published). To calculate a possible benefit use the following calculation for a person receiving ODSP paying $1,000 rent monthly. If the person is not receiving ODSP or OW only use Calculation #2.

Calculation #1 Calculation #2 Possible Benefit
Rent $1,000
Minus ODSP
housing allowance 497
$ 503 Income $1,169 x 30% = $350.70
Minus Average market rent
$669 x 80% = 535.20
($184.5) Calculation #1 $503
Calculation#2 ($184.50)
Benefit $318.50

The person’s monthly benefit would be approximately $318.50.

COHB Application process
• Determine if the person is on the CHR waitlist and their application is up-to-date.
If they are not on the list, or their application has not been updated this year, go the CHR’s website and download the application, complete and either email or fax the application. Please write CLEC on the top right corner to let them know they are supported by our agency.
Phone: 519-254-1681
Fax: 19 254-9166
• The COHB application is completed over the phone. No documents are required to be submitted as part of the application process. To arrange for a phone call contact CHC
Phone: (519) 254-1681 x 4005
• The application process will determine an estimated benefit. The Ministry of Finance will confirm or amend the estimated benefit.
• Income will be confirmed by the Ministry of Finance based on the person’s Notice of Assessment from the person’s previous income tax filing. It is important that the person has filed their income tax as the Ministry will initial deny the application if income cannot be confirmed using their Notice of Assessment. It is not clear what other income verification may be accepted.

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