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  Priority Housing:

What is the Victims of Family Violence Policy?

The Victims of Family Violence policy is a mandated government policy that grants special priority status to social housing applicants whose personal or family’s safety is at risk because of abuse by a partner/spouse or family member living in the home. The intent of this policy is to address situations of abuse within a family household and enable the applicant to separate permanently from the abuser. It is not intended to apply to applicants who simply want to separate from a partner/spouse or family member because their relationship is not working.

What is Abuse?

Abuse includes one or more incidents of physical or sexual violence; controlling behaviour; or intentional destruction of or intentional injury to property; or words, actions or gestures that threaten an individual or lead an individual to fear for his or her safety.

Abuse is done by any of the following persons against an individual:
The individual’s spouse, parent, child or other relative; a person who is sponsoring the individual as an immigrant; or a person on whom the individual is emotionally, physically or financially dependent.

The definition of abuse has been expanded to provide the context of domestic violence focusing on abuse within an abusive relationship.

Am I Eligible for Priority Under this Policy?

Peel Access to Housing determines eligibility under the Victims of Family Violence policy in compliance with the Social Housing Reform Act, 2000.
For consideration under this policy:

  • Either you or a family member(s) must have experienced an incident or series of incidents of abuse within the last 3 months.
  • A member of the household must have been the subject of abuse from another individual.
  • The abusing individual is or was living with the member or is sponsoring the member as an immigrant
  • The abused member intends to live permanently apart from the abusing individual.

How do I Apply for Consideration Under This Policy?

  1. Complete and return the Peel Access to Housing Application (PATH) (PDF 1MB) for Subsidized Housing in Peel Region – Note: All sections of the application form are to be completed, attaching all required documentation. You must meet all the eligibility criteria for social housing under the Social Housing Reform Act (SHRA).
  2. You must complete the PATH Victims of Family Violence Form (PDF 444KB). You are required to have an approved Community Service Professional* also sign this form. You must also complete all sections of this form identifying the alleged abuser; your relationship to the alleged abuser; when you started to reside together; when you separated; the address where you resided together; and   provide “safe” contact information.   
  3. A Documented Record of Abuse from a Community Service Professional* outlining your abusive relationship, type of abuse and meeting the Indicators of Abuse under the SHRA.
  4. Provide Proof of Cohabitation for both the victim and the alleged abuser where they lived together.

As identified and outlined in the SHRA, the following community professionals, in their professional capacity, are eligible to provide a written conformation of the abuse:

*Community Service Professionals include: a doctor; registered nurse or registered practical nurse; lawyer; law enforcement officer; member of the clergy; teacher; guidance counsellor; an individual in a managerial or administrative position with a housing provider; community services worker; community health care worker; social worker; social service worker; victim services worker; settlement services worker; shelter worker; community legal worker; any other individual who knows about the abuse*

*Note: This last individual will provide the required record of abuse as described above and a declaration of the truth of the record, administered by a commissioner for taking affidavits.

What is a Record of Abuse?

A Community Service Professional* (defined above) shall verify the incident(s) of abuse by forwarding:

  • A completed Peel Access to Housing Victims of Family Violence Form (PDF 444KB) signed and completed by the applicant.
  • A documented Record of Abuse confirming that the applicant has been subject to abuse by another individual living in the household in a relationship or by an individual who is sponsoring the client as an immigrant.

Individual perceptions about what kinds of situations constitute “abuse” may vary.
For the purposes of this policy, verifiers are to refer to the Indicators of Abuse list below when assessing the applicant’s situation of abuse.

The existence of these indicators of abuse is considered to warrant inclusion in the Special Priority Household Category for rent-geared-to-income housing, noting all eligibility criteria for the Victims of Family Violence status is also met.

Indicators of Abuse

  1. A record of intervention by the police indicating that the member was abused by the abusing individual.
  2. A record of physical injury caused to the member by the abusing individual.
  3. A record of the application of force by the abusing individual against the member to force the member to engage in sexual activity against his or her will.
  4. A record of one or more attempts to kill the member or another member of the household.
  5. A record of the use of a weapon against the member or another member of the household.
  6. A record of one or more incidents of abuse, including the following:
    • Threatening to kill the member or another member of the household.
    • Threatening to use a weapon against the member or another member of the household.
    • Threatening to physically harm the member or another member of the household.
    • Destroying or injuring or threatening to destroy or injure the member’s property.
    • Intentionally killing or injuring pets or threatening to kill or injure pets.
    • Threatening to harm or remove the member’s children from the household.
    • Threatening to prevent the member from having access to his or her children.
    • Forcing the member to perform degrading or humiliating acts.
    • Terrorizing the member.
    • Enforcing social isolation upon the member.
    • Failing to provide or withholding the necessities of life.
    • Threatening to withdraw from sponsoring the member as an immigrant.
    • Threatening to take action that might lead to the member being deported.
    • Other words, actions, or gestures that threaten the member or lead the member to fear for his or her safety.
  7. A record of undue or unwarranted control by the abusing individual over the member’s personal or financial activities.
  8. A record of one or more incidents of stalking or harassing behaviour against the member or another member of the household.

For consideration under this policy, an incident or incidents of abuse must have been experienced within the last 3 months.

Consideration for this policy may be extended beyond the 3 month timeline, where PATH is satisfied that the abuse is ongoing.

Proof of Cohabitation

Documents provided as Proof of Cohabitation must

  • reflect the “same” full address where the client and alleged abuser resided together when the abuse took place
  • be dated within the time period preceding the date the client's application is submitted to PATH
  • include the client and alleged abuser's full names (separate documents can be submitted if the client and abuser did not have joint assets), and
  • be obtained from an unbiased source.

More than one piece of documentation may be required when information is conflicting.

PATH reserves the right to review and accept all documents submitted for proof of co-habitation as unaltered and not fraudulent.

NOTE: Proof of Cohabitation must be supported by the tenancy record provided by the Social Housing Providers.

Acceptable Documents

All documents MUST be dated within the timeframe from when the alleged abuse took place and the time of separation i.e, most recent documents within the last 3 months.

Please refer to the following list of acceptable documents, acknowledging this list is not inclusive. NOTE: all letters should be on official letterhead and or have official stamp

  • Investment  Statement (e.g. RRSP – joint/individual)
  • Bank Verification Letter ( signed by officer of bank – joint/individual)
  • Dental Receipt/Invoice/Letter
  • Government Letter or Statement   (e.g. OW;GST; ODSP; EI; NCBS; Tax Return; Canada Revenue; etc.)
  • Visa Statements
  • Immigration Document
  • Letter from a professional who completed a home visit (e.g. CAS; Public Health Nurse)
  • Loan Agreement
  • OSAP Statement / Letter
  • Pharmacy Receipt/Invoice
  • Physician/ Dentist  - Receipt/Invoice/Letter
    (only if the client & alleged abuser shared the same doctor or dentist)
  • Police Report
  • Rental Agreement or Lease (recognized property management firm)
  • School Emergency Contact (school printout)
  • School Registration Letter (school printout)
  • Utility Bills –Gas, Hydro and Water
  • Mortgage (Documents stating address; mortgage holders; date established)
  • Legal Documents (Court Separation/custody agreement; child support agreements)
  • Rental Receipt’s with additional information i.e., the name of landlord & current telephone numbers may be reviewed as proof of cohabitation.
  • SHP tenancies – confirmed by PATH
  • Apartment/house/car insurance – letter from insurance company that lists both parties
  • Property ownership/property taxes – copy of last property tax bill
  • Other documents meeting the outlined criteria

Unacceptable Documents

Please refer to the following list of documents that cannot be accepted, acknowledging this list is not inclusive.

  • Collection Bills/Past Due Notices
  • Envelopes
  • Generated ‘Marketing’ Mail
  • Letters from private dwelling landlords
  • Magazine Subscriptions / Renewals
  • Bank statements
  • Affidavits
  • Phone/Cable/Internet bill statements/bank statements

How Will I Know if I am Approved?

PATH will contact you when you are placed on the priority waiting list. Your priority placement date on the waiting list will be the day that you returned the completed Victims of Family Violence package to Peel Access to Housing.

How Can I Keep my Application Active?

Continue to advise PATH of a safe contact telephone number and/or address where we may contact you when housing becomes available.

Once priority status has been assigned, it is your responsibility to report any changes in your family composition, address, telephone number, income and immigration status within 10 business days of the change taking place.

Failure to advise Peel Access to Housing in writing (mail, fax, e-mail) or by telephone will result in the loss of your eligibility and inactivation of your file.

Note: You must continue to meet all rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing eligibility requirements. Please review the Applicant Responsibilities.

To remove your name from the priority waiting list, please place your request in writing to Peel Access to Housing. Please make sure that your name, date and reason why you want to remove your name is included in the letter.

It is your responsibility to advise PATH when you have received an offer of housing from another area.

How Long Will I Wait for Housing Under the VOFV Policy?

The supply of social housing in Peel is limited and the demand is increasing. The average wait for an approved Victim of Family Violence applicant may vary from 1-3 years or longer.

What Can I do Until I am Housed?

It is important that you seek safety for yourself and your family members.

If you are a woman experiencing abuse, please contact the advocates at the Transitional Housing Support Program (THSP) who are connected with Victim Services (905-568-1068) and Interim Place (905-403-0864).

THSP offers culturally sensitive and supportive services to women and children who have experienced violence in their intimate relationships and provides assistance to help them establish a life in their community that is free of violence.

THSP services include:

  • A safety plan
  • Advice in the areas of finding and maintaining housing
  • Supportive counselling
  • Advocacy

THSP referrals to:

  • Income support agencies
  • Employment services
  • Job training services
  • ESL programs
  • Legal services
  • Immigration information centres
  • Parenting support programs
  • Multicultural services

THSP will assist you in finding emergency housing options and in providing the necessary support documentation for your subsidized housing application.

You can also contact one of the agencies listed in the brochure:
Woman Abuse Community Services in the Region of Peel (PDF 340KB).

Does PATH Have a Medical Priority Policy?

Yes. Peel’s Medical Priority Policy is intended to serve rent-geared-to income applicants with a terminal illness who have received a medical prognosis of two years or less to live, given by a licensed medical physician. This policy is not intended to target a specific medical condition or symptom.

Who is Eligible under the Medical Priority Policy?

Applicants are required to meet all normal social housing eligibility requirements, including the ability to live independently or independently with community services.

For consideration under the medical priority policy, the applicant will be required to demonstrate the following criteria:

  • Diagnosis of terminal illness has been given by a licensed medical physician.
  • A prognosis of two years or less to live has been given by a licensed medical physician.

With respect to these criteria, the following six considerations should be noted:

  1. The two-year timeframe includes any available treatment options offered by a licensed medical physician;
  2. Medical documentation must outline the individual’s diagnosis and life expectancy;
  3. While on the waiting list, priority status only belongs to the approved individual to whom it is assigned (e.g., this status does not belong to the household). This means that if the individual dies before they are granted RGI housing under this priority policy, the household no longer retains priority status;
  4. Once housed, the household will remain eligible for social housing as long as the household continues to meet all eligibility criteria, even if the household member granted the medical priority is no longer with the household;
  5. An approved individual’s status will be reviewed on an annual basis by an Applicant Service Representative (ASR) from Peel Access to Housing (PATH); and,
  6. An approved individual who receives priority status for early placement into social housing no longer qualifies if their life expectancy changes (e.g., their original prognosis to live becomes more than two years).

Note: The approved individual can be any member of the household.

Is there a special form that I must complete to apply for the Medical Priority?

Validation of the condition will be made through the use of the
PATH Medical Priority Form for Terminally Ill Applicants (PDF 80KB).

Additional information

An individual approved for priority status under the medical priority policy is not guaranteed immediate access to rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing.

Victims of Family Violence will always be the first priority.

Additional medical community resource information is available by contacting PATH at 905-453-1300.


Revised: Thursday February 24 2011


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