What is subsidized housing?

Subsidized housing is when you get help paying your rent from the government or a private organization.

The purpose of subsidized housing is to provide affordable housing for people who don't have a lot of money. You pay rent based on what you can afford, not on the size or type of housing you live in.

Usually, the amount of rent you pay is determined by your income and is called rent-geared-to-income housing. Generally, you pay about 30% of your monthly income on rent and the rest of the rent is subsidized by the government or a private organization. This is called a subsidy. If your subsidy is not determined by your income, it is called a rent supplement.

Read Am I eligible for subsidized housing? for more information about who can access this service.

Types of Subsidized Housing

Subsidized housing can be a single room, an apartment with 1 or more bedrooms, or a townhouse. All kinds of people live in subsidized housing including single people, couples and families with children.

Subsidies for housing are funded and managed in different ways:

  • Co-operative (co-op) housing is owned and managed by resident members of the co-op. Co-ops get government funding to provide subsidized housing to low-income residents. Some co-ops are for specific groups of people, such as seniors, people with disabilities, or artists.
  • Non-profit housing can be private or municipal. Private non-profits are owned and managed by independent, community-based groups, such as religious or ethnocultural communities. Municipal non-profits are owned and operated by municipal governments. Over 100 municipalities in Ontario offer subsidized housing.
  • Local Housing Corporations are owned and managed by the local government body responsible for housing, social welfare and ambulance services. Until 2001, Local Housing Corporations were owned by the provincial government and called "public housing."

There are waiting lists for subsidized housing across Ontario. In some areas, the waiting list is more than 10 years. In other places the wait is shorter.

You can contact a community agency or housing help centre for more information about subsidized housing. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

For More Information

  • Looking for Subsidized Housing - Information about subsidized housing in Ontario, including how to apply and eligibility guidelines.
  • Find Housing Help in Ontario - This website lists housing help centres across Ontario. These centres can help you find affordable housing and access financial and social supports. From the Housing Help Association of Ontario.
  • Co-op Housing: An Affordable Alternative - This fact sheet has information about co-op housing. It focuses on Toronto, but a lot of the information applies to co-op housing all over Ontario. Available in many languages.
  • Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) - An association of private and municipal non-profit housing providers in Ontario. The ONPHA website explains what non-profit housing is, describes ONPHA services and has links to related organizations.
Last updated: September 4, 2015 4001299