Today, Mayor John Tory announced that approximately $1.9 million in additional funding will be distributed from the TO Supports Investment Fund to 33 community-based agencies supporting vulnerable populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second installment of the City's commitment of 20 per cent towards the provincial Social Services Relief Fund to support non-profit social service agencies during this pandemic.
Similar to the first round of funding announced on June 23, this funding will be invested in community-based agencies, many of which are partnering with the City of Toronto on city-wide solutions in the following eight priority areas: housing and homelessness; food access and security; family support; mental health support; income support; social connection; community sector support; and community safety and well-being.
Additional funding for community-based agencies is critical at this time for vulnerable residents, families and neighbourhoods as the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to increase. This support may include mental health support through enhanced phone support, distribution of culturally-appropriate prepared meals and food hampers, baby food, hygiene kits, Wi-Fi hot spots and more.
The community-based agencies were selected to receive funding based on their ability to respond to the urgent, unmet needs of Toronto’s vulnerable populations. Investment requests that advance the City’s community response priorities; support existing, or emerging strategic City partnerships to advance community response; and leverage and complement the emergency responses provided by funding partners and other orders of government were also considered. Priority was given to agencies that support Black and Indigenous communities.
From this round of funding, $250,000 is recommended to be allocated to four agencies working with people with disabilities, $140,000 to Indigenous agencies and $918,140 to COVID-19 responses led by Black agencies. Despite being nine per cent of Toronto's population, according to Toronto Public Health data updated September 16, 2020, Black Torontonians are the most impacted by COVID-19 at 23 per cent of cases. Staff continue to work closely with the Indigenous Affairs Office on funding requests to ensure that the City is responding to the needs of Toronto's Indigenous communities.
A list of the community-based agencies that the City will be working with is available on the City’s website: https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/9011-Community-Funding-Announcement-Funding-Allocations.pdf.
On April 1, the City was advised by the Province of Ontario that its allocation under the Social Services Relief Fund was $39.2 million for 2020-2021 to enable the City to help a diverse range of vulnerable people. In June, $2.81 million was allocated to 50 community-based agencies as the first round of investments: https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-of-toronto-announces-funds-for-community-services-to-do-more-for-vulnerable-populations/.
The TO Supports Investment Fund was created to invest in strategic partnerships with social services agencies to address urgent needs of vulnerable Toronto residents. These funds are not intended to meet long-term recovery needs. The City will continue advocating to the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada for greater funding to support the emergency and recovery needs found within our communities.
"This pandemic has highlighted a real need to help vulnerable populations in our city. By providing funding for community-based agencies, we know that people who need help are getting the help they need. I want to thank all of our partners for working with the City and doing important work on the ground that ensures residents can access vital support and services.” - Toronto Mayor John Tory
“As we have experienced throughout this pandemic, partnering with community-based agencies is an effective way to identify gaps in support for vulnerable populations most impacted by COVID-19. This funding will help the recipient community-based agencies continue to provide support to vulnerable populations in our city during this challenging time.”
- Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Ward 21 (Scarborough Centre), Chair of Economic Development and Culture Committee
“There are many community-based agencies throughout Toronto that have been flexible and adapted their programs and services to continue to do great work during the pandemic. I’m pleased that there are a number of excellent agencies based in my ward that will be receiving a portion of this funding so that they can continue to support vulnerable populations in the various communities, not just in my ward, but in some cases, throughout the city.”
- Councillor Anthony Perruzza (Ward 7 Humber River-Black Creek)
“These funds will assist many of our community members needing food for their families and in addition, help their access to much needed health services through safe virtual technology.”
- Joe Hester, Executive Director, Anishnawbe Health Toronto
"Due to the generosity of the City of Toronto, this funding will allow the Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Metropolitan Toronto to implement a strategy that will serve our vulnerable seniors in Toronto during the pandemic."
- Berhane Beraki, Executive Director, Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Metropolitan Toronto
“Members of the Toronto Deaf community, from all walks of life, are experiencing increased barriers, including navigating COVID-19 information, measures, benefits, directives, education-at-home, and accessible tools to help with children sheltering in place. Signing Deaf children – who 92 per cent have hearing parents, of which almost 40 per cent use a signed language at home – do not have access even in their own homes. Silent Voice is grateful to the City for this funding as we can connect people and resources, in American Sign Language (ASL), to navigate this ever-moving landscape. We can make sure that the most vulnerable and marginalized of the Deaf community – those who face barriers, live in poverty, are new to Canada, did not acquire language in their early years, are not proficient in written English, do not have communication in their own homes – have a place to access crucial information, programs and services, in ASL.”
- Kelly MacKenzie, Executive Director, Silent Voice