Subsidized housing

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Facts at a glance

  • The City’s Housing Services Branch administers and funds social housing in Ottawa.
  • There are approximately 22,500 community housing units.
  • Rental rates for those in receipt of Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) assistance within social housing are typically set according to the renter’s income, with households paying no more than 30 per cent of their income towards rent.
  • There are 51 independent non-profit housing organizations that operate social housing across the city.
  • The demand for social housing is much greater than the supply.
  • There are approximately 10,000 households on the Centralized Wait List for social housing.
  • Wait times for social housing in Ottawa can be up to five (5) years or more.

Rent-Geared-to-Income Assistance

Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) Assistance helps low- and moderate income households with housing costs. RGI provides affordable housing to eligible low-income families in subsidized housing and households pay no more than 30 per cent of their income towards rent.

  • You will get a monthly rent subsidy to help pay your rent.
  • Households must move to the subsidized housing unit that was offered from the Centralized Wait List.
  • Your monthly rent is calculated using 30 per cent of your household’s adjusted family net income as reported on your annual Notice of Assessment Line 23600.
  • If your only income is social assistance, your monthly rent is set by the province.
  • Subsidy is attached to the rental unit. This means you can’t take it with you if you move.
  • You must be on The Social Housing Registry of Ottawa’s Centralized Wait List.
  • Your name will be removed from The Social Housing Registry of Ottawa’s Centralized Wait List once you have accepted an offer of subsidized housing.
  • Eligibility is reviewed once a year.

Portable Housing Benefit

A Portable Housing Benefit provides low to moderate income households with a monthly payment to help with rental costs in the private housing market. The benefit belongs to the individual and can be used to help pay rent anywhere in Ottawa.

Portable Housing Benefits are found under the Rent Supplement Program.

  • You will get a monthly payment to help pay your rent.
  • Households must find their own private rental market housing in Ottawa.
  • Your monthly benefit is calculated using your household’s adjusted family net income as reported on your annual Notice of Assessment Line 23600. The monthly benefit is the difference between 30 per cent of your net income reported on your notice of assessment, divided by 12, and 80 per cent of the average market rent for Ottawa.
  • The housing benefit belongs to you. This means you can take it with you if you move to another address anywhere in Ottawa.
  • You must be on The Social Housing Registry of Ottawa’s Centralized Wait List.
  • Priority groups are approved for each Portable Housing Benefit program when funding is available.
  • Households on the Centralized Wait List with the oldest application dates will be considered. for any programs. Invitation letters are directly sent to eligible households.
  • Must agree to remove your name from all wait lists for subsidized housing once approved.
  • Eligibility is reviewed once a year.

Supportive Housing Program

Supportive housing is a community-based, person-centred model of providing affordable, transitional and permanent accommodation. Housing support staff help tenants and encourage the development of healthy communities.

For information on how to apply for Supportive Housing, refer to The Social Housing Registry of Ottawa.

Keeping your home

At risk of being evicted by your landlord?
Action Housing and Housing Help are two non-profit agencies that can help you keep your housing. Their services are free and confidential. They provide:

  • Advocacy and housing loss prevention services to low and moderate income Ottawa residents
  • Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal assistance for tenant and landlord disagreements.

If you live East of the Rideau Canal contact:
Action Housing
150 Montreal Rd, Suite 305

If you live West of the Rideau Canal contact:
Housing Help
309 Cooper Street, Suite 502

Service Manager Directives

Under the Housing Services Act, 2011 (HSA), the City has the responsibility to establish certain local rules in order to administer rent-geared-to-income (RGI) assistance in an equitable and consistent manner for prescribed housing programs. These rules are outlined in Service Manager Directives:

Housing resources

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – the Government of Canada's authority on housing.
  • Canadian Housing and Renewal Association – a national non-profit organization representing those who manage and deliver housing programs in communities across Canada.
  • Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation – established to ensure that human rights protections in housing would be effective for low income households and to address systemic barriers to accessing affordable accommodation.
  • Clinique juridique francophone – offers legal assistance to francophone tenants (available in French only).
  • Community Care Access Centre – a provincially-funded, charitable, non-profit organization providing home health care & support services, placement in long-term care facilities, and one-stop access to information and referral to related community resources.
  • Community Legal Services of Ottawa – provides free legal help to people of low income.
  • Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) – the national voice of Canada's co-operative housing movement.
  • Council on Aging – established in 1975 in response to a need for a coordinating body to deal with the concerns of senior citizens, particularly in the health and education fields.
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities – the national voice of municipal governments, dedicated to improving the quality of life in all communities by promoting strong, effective and accountable municipal government.
  • Homes for the Aged – Since 1969, the Region has been providing institutional long-term care. The Homes for the Aged staff members are committed to providing quality care and services to persons who can no longer live independently.
  • Landlords Self-Help Centre – a specialty clinic within the province-wide community legal clinic system funded by Legal Aid Ontario. Landlord's Self-Help Centre provides services exclusively to small scale landlords in Ontario.
  • Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors – voluntary province wide organization which, for 78 years, has represented non-profit providers of services, care and housing for seniors.
  • Ministry of Housing - leads the government of Ontario’s efforts to ensure everyone in Ontario has an affordable, suitable and adequate home.
  • Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) is the official voice of non-profit housing in Ontario
  • Landlord and Tenant Board – established to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants and provide information about the Tenant Protection Act.
  • Social Planning Council of Ottawa – the SPC applies research and long-term planning to pressing social problems. Working with community groups and concerned citizens, we gather information and develop alternative solutions. To get the word out to decision-makers, the media, and the public, we communicate via publications, fact sheets, town hall meetings, and the Internet.