COVID-19 Income and Housing Security

May 6th, 2020

Income Security

SERVICECURRENT STATUS
Income SecurityIf you are worried about paying a utility bill, contact your utility company for information about relief and other options. All utility companies that provide service in Durham Region have created COVID-19 assistance and flexibility programs to support residents.

Hydro and water disconnects are suspended until further notice.
· All eviction orders are suspended until further notice.
·  The personal income tax deadline has been extended to June 1st.

Community tax clinics are postponed at this time, but information will be posted at Durham.ca as it becomes available.

The Federal government has assured seniors that OAS and GIS payments will not be interrupted.
Ontario Health Card

The Ontario government has extended validation periods for Ontario Health Cards. Anyone with an expiring or expired health card will continue to have access to insured health services.

The Ontario government is waiving the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage and will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for any uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage.
Service CanadaAt this time, we will be closing in person Service Canada Centres.
Canadians will still be able to access their benefits. The best way to apply remains online at:
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html

Employees at Service Canada sites will turn their attention to serving
Canadians over the phone. Our Citizen Service Officers will be
providing personalized service support for EI and pensions
applications, in addition to the services provided over the phone by our call centres. This will allow more Canadians to get the support
they need, while better protecting both them and our staff.
Service OntarioTo help ensure your safety and the safety of others, we urge Ontarians
not to visit a ServiceOntario centre unless completely necessary.

Please consider:
-completing your transactions online (if available)
-staying home if you are sick

Please note that some ServiceOntario centres are operating with reduced hours, please check the times for your location.

As of March 30th 9:00 am the only centre in Durham Region that is
open is Whitby at 590 Rossland Road East.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
(CERB)
The Federal Government has announced a new benefit to help people who have been impacted by COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

CERB is a new benefit which combines the two previously announced benefits:
-The Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. All Canadians who have stopped working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, will be able to receive CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

CERB is a simpler and more accessible taxable benefit which will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers
who lose their income because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those already on EI regular and sickness benefits will continue to receive those benefits and should not apply for CERB. If EI ends before October 3, 2020, they
can apply for CERB once EI benefits end if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19.

If you have already applied for EI and your application is not yet processed, you do not need to reapply.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.

EI-eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits. The dedicated phone lines for these inquiries related to EI and COVID-19 are 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free) or
teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742.

More complete information is at Durham.ca
Tax FilingThe personal income tax deadline has been extended to June 1.
Community tax clinics are postponed at this time, but information will be posted at Durham.ca as it becomes available.

Find information and resources about filing your own taxes from the Government of Canada here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/taxes/incometax/personal-income-tax/doing-your-taxes.html

A direct link to a list of certified software options (many are free) is available here: canada.ca/netfile-software

More tax filing information will be provided as it is available
Ontario Works

Updated May 22nd

All Income and Employment Support offices are currently closed to the public, which includes the Employment Resource Centre located in the Midtown Mall. Ontario Works clients can continue to contact their caseworker for supports as all staff are currently teleworking.


Ontario Works Clients will continue to receive their monthly payments via direct bank deposit, reloadable payment card or cheque. To apply for Ontario Works or Emergency Assistance through Ontario Works please call the application centre at 1-877-678-6333

Applications for Ontario Works financial assistance will continue online and through the Application Centre which is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm.

The telephone application will take approximately one hour to complete.
*Local calls: 905-428-8982
*Toll-free: 1-877-678-6333
*Bell Relay: 1-800-855-0511

Cheque pick up dates for Ontario Works clients with NO FIXED ADDRESS for July and August 2020 payments.

Updated June 19th, 2020
Cheques and reloadable payment cards for clients with No Fixed Address serviced by the Oshawa Ontario Works office at C1A-200 John St Oshawa will be available for pick up:
•July cheques: Tuesday June 30th, Thursday July 2nd and Friday July 10th between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the Oshawa Ontario Works office, C1A-200 John St., Oshawa


•August cheques: Friday July 31st, Tuesday August 4th, and Monday August 10th between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the Oshawa Ontario Works office, C1A-200 John St., Oshawa
•Clients will be expected to present valid ID (Driver’s license, passport, Birth Certificate, Ontario photo ID etc.)


Cheques and reloadable payment cards for clients with No Fixed Address serviced by the Whitby Ontario Works office at 605 Rossland Rd E and the Ajax Ontario Works office at 140 Commercial Ave.
•July cheques: Tuesday June 30th and Thursday July 2nd between the hours from 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at Regional Headquarters 605 Rossland Road E, Whitby – Garden Street entrance ONLY.


•August cheques: Friday July 31st and Tuesday August 4th between the hours from 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at Regional Headquarters 605 Rossland Road E, Whitby – Garden Street entrance ONLY.
•Clients will be expected to present valid ID (Driver’s license, passport, Birth Certificate, Ontario photo ID etc.)

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

Updated May 22nd

COVID-19 KEY INFORMATION Please find this information page here: Temporary Changes to ODSP. This information page can be printed/distributed as needed.

ODSP office hours are now 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday with reduced staff. Please be patient as we do our best to assist you, answer calls and respond to inquiries. For everyone’s health and well-being, please avoid going to an ODSP office unless asked to do so.

Phone will be answered 9am-4:45pm Clients are encouraged to connect with their caseworker through email (if possible) at oshawa.odsp@ontario.ca


Key information for clients
You will continue to receive your monthly ODSP payment. If you usually pick up payments from your ODSP office, you should contact the office for instructions. You do not need to drop off an income report in person. You may use the MyBenefits online service, mail, email, or call the office. Payments will not be suspended if the report is late.
Payments for Special Diet Allowance, Mandatory Special Necessities or other recurring benefits expiring will be extended and a new form is not required.
If you need a new benefit such as eyeglasses, repairs to a wheelchair, or
other assistance, contact your ODSP office. If you can’t get in to see a
healthcare practitioner, we will help you complete the relevant form.


Emergency benefit
ODSP clients who have additional expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak and who don’t receive Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) income (with some exceptions) are eligible for monthly payments of $100 for a single person or $200 for a family until July 2020. Families with a youth under 18 receiving the CERB or a family member in full-time school attendance receiving the CERB may still be eligible for the benefit. If you received this benefit in March or April and meet the eligibility criteria, you will automatically receive the benefit in May, June and July. For new requests, please email ODSP.EmergencyBenefit@ontario.ca or call 1-888-444-2412 with your name, member ID and your additional expenses.

Applying for ODSP and medical reviews
The ministry is still processing ODSP applications. We can send the application package directly to an applicant’s healthcare practitioner to help avoid in-person visits. If you have an ODSP application package or medical review package that is due soon but you can’t submit it to the Disability Adjudication Unit by the deadline, we will accept late packages during the COVID-19 emergency period.
Please disregard any letters you may receive about the deadline for your ODSP application package, medical review package, or internal review request during this time.We will re-assess the situation at a later date and inform you of any changes.
Call the Disability Adjudication Unit at 1-888-256-6758 if you have any
questions.


Appeals and reviews
If you disagree with a decision and want to ask for an internal review, the
timeline for asking is suspended during the emergency period. If you disagree with a decision and want to appeal it, you can appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) after seeking internal review. You must still request an internal review to appeal.
For questions about an SBT appeal, contact the SBT at 1-800-753-3895 (toll
free), 1-800-855-0511 (TTY), or visit sjto.gov.on.ca/sbt


Treatment of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
For all ODSP applicants and recipients, CERB payments are treated like
employment income. The first $200, and 50 per cent of each additional dollar received, is exempt.
If you are receiving the CERB, you should report this income. You can do this using phone, fax, mail, secure email or the general ODSP office email address.
If you become financially ineligible for OSDP income support while receiving the CERB, you will not lose access to health benefits. You will remain on social assistance, at a nominal amount, to ensure continued access to benefits and case management supports.
Please do not contact ODSP to apply for the CERB. For information on
eligibility for CERB or to apply visit: Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Additional resources

Receiving payments by cheque? Consider switching to direct bank
deposit (DBD) payment or a reloadable payment card (RPC). Contact
your ODSP office to ask about this.

Want to know more about your ODSP payment or benefits? Visit
Ontario.ca/mybenefits or use the Interactive Voice Response
(IVR) system
. Contact your ODSP office for help getting set up. • Want more information about the provincial response to COVID-19?
Visit Ontario.ca/covid19

ODSP EMERGENCY BENEFIT REQUEST

Local offices are to process their own requests by completing the Emergency Benefit Request form and forwarding daily for processing.
Clients are still to contact there local ODSP office directly to apply for the
ODSP Emergency Benefit. Clients can request this by leaving a voice mail at 905-440-1030 ext 1031 or calling their caseworker directly.

Housing Security

PLACECURRENT STATUS
Community Development Council Durham (CDCD) OutreachOutreach will be attending the Ajax Hygiene HUB on:
Mondays from 9 to about 2 pm.
•Wednesdays from 12 – 5 pm.
•Friday all day

We are available to meet with clients from the Ajax/Pickering area who attend the HUB, to provide housing supports.
Housing Stability Program – CDCDThe Housing Stability Program (HSP) application has been updated to be fillable online. This will allow applications to be submitted electronically to promote social distancing for clients that do not have access to a printer/scanner.
 
The ‘Original’ version has the electronic signature option enabled (See Below)

For clients/ applications that do not have the ability to use an electronic signature, the ‘Edited’ version can be used (See Below)

If applicants do not have the ability to print/sign the application, they can use the below e-mail script as an alternative to a physical signature:

By sending this email, I confirm that I submitted an application to the Housing Stability Program dated [insert date].  Please accept this email as my consent for Community Development Council Durham (CDCD) to contact the Social Services Department, Region of Durham/my landlord/utility company/creditor/Ontario Disability Support Program to confirm eligibility for this program. I further consent to CDCD contacting the income source named above to verify my income. I fully understand the nature and purpose of this consent and have given my consent and authorization voluntarily. I understand that if something on my application form is incorrect or not true, I may be ineligible for assistance. I also understand that all information provided in my application will be verified.
I am unable to print, sign and return the form by email at this time, so I ask that you please accept this email in lieu of my physical signature.

It is important to note that it is strongly preferred that applicants physically sign the application. Applicants can also take pictures of the physical, signed application and send the pictures via e-mail to submit their application.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL DURHAM TEMPORARY HOUSING SUPPORT PROGRAM

Updated May 22nd

Overview

The Temporary Housing Support Program is intended to support low-income Durham region residents who may face evictions or utility cut-offs as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. This benefit will provide temporary (up to 3 months) assistance for those who are struggling to pay their rent or utility bills. Eligible tenants will have the benefit paid directly to their landlord or utility company. Each household will be required to pay 70% of their household income towards their housing costs, including rent and utilities, at which time the Temporary Housing Support Program may cover the difference.

This program has been launched in addition to the current Housing Stability Program (HSP). This benefit will provide temporary assistance for those who are struggling to pay their rent or utility bills as a result of income loss or reduction during COVID-19 measures. Eligible tenants will have the benefit paid directly to their landlord or utility company, benefiting all parties.

The Temporary Housing Support Program (COVID-19) is a homelessness prevention initiative for low income Durham Region residents. It is a program of the Region of Durham and funded through the Region of Durham and the provincial Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI).

Documents Below: Please save for your use. There is one fillable PDF and one for those who wish to print and fill out. For questions or concerns, please call 905.686.2661 x117

How much am I eligible to receive?

Each household will be required to pay 70% of their household income towards their housing costs, including rent and utilities. Eligible applicants will be entitled to this benefit for up to 3 months, at which time they may reapply if needed.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for the Temporary Housing Support Program if you meet all of the eligibility criteria for HSP, in addition to the following conditions:

1. You are in receipt of Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) as a result of COVID-19.

2. You reside in the Durham Region and your rent is not subsidized by any other government program, non-profit organization or any other program that provides rental subsidies.

3. Must prove ongoing affordability of rent and utility payments

At this time, those who are unemployed for reasons outside of COVID-19 restrictions are not eligible for this program. A Record of Employment or letter from your employer will be sufficient proof as outlined below. If you are ineligible for the Temporary Housing Support Program but are having difficulty making your rent or utility payments or need assistance completing the application, we recommend that you connect with a Housing Outreach Worker:

Clarington- John Howard Society at 905.623.6814

Oshawa- John Howard Society at 905.579.8482

Whitby- John Howard Society at 905.666.8847

Ajax/Pickering– Community Development Council Durham at 905.686.2661 Scugog/Brock/Uxbridge North House at 705.432.8654 or 1.877.406.8723 OR; Community Living Durham North at 905.985.8511

How to apply

Eligible applicants must complete the Temporary Housing Support Program Application with all supporting documents In addition to the HSP requirements, applicants must provide:

– Proof of loss of employment (Record of Employment, letter from employer) AND,THSP (COVID-19) Application May 2020 Page 2 of 7

– Proof of Current Income (Employment Insurance or Canada Emergency Response Benefit Confirmation) OR,

– Self- Employed- Proof of approval from Canada Emergency Relief Benefit

How will I know that my application has been approved?

Applicants will be connected with a Housing Stability Program Eligibility Worker upon receipt of application who will have ongoing communication with both the tenant and the landlord and/or utility provider. All parties will be notified by phone and in writing via email or mail of the eligibility decision. Please note that you can speed up the process by ensuring a complete application with all supporting documents is submitted. Please allow five to seven business days after all required forms and proof have been received for an application to be processed.

How long is the program?

At this time, we will endeavor to provide this support for the duration of COVID-19 restrictions. Upon the decision of eligibility, you will be placed into the program for the next 3 months and will be required to forward any updated information to your HSP Worker. Please note that the availability of the Temporary Housing Support Program is subject to funding and priority will be given to those facing eviction.

Is this program available for those who receive social assistance (Ontario Works/Ontario Disability Support Program) and/or housing subsidies?

No, this benefit is for individuals/families who are not currently receiving another form of social or rental assistance. Anyone who is receiving social assistance and/or is paying rent that is based on their income is not eligible. Please note that HSP will not be available to cover months in which the Temporary Housing Support Program has been provided for.

You may mail, fax or email your completed application to: (Please note that our offices are currently closed to the public due to COVID19)

Community Development Council Durham

Attn: Housing Stability Program 458 Fairall Street, Unit 4 Ajax, Ontario L1S 1R6 Tel: 905-686-2661 Ext. 227 Fax: 905-686-0984 Email: housinghelp@cdcd.org