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Program Information & Eligibility

HRF (Housing Retention Fund)

The Housing Retention Fund is available to assist residents who are in arrears of rent or mortgage payments, utility arrears, require last month’s rent, or require assistance with moving expenses, or storage. 


  • Recipients of Canada Pension Plan (CPP),  Employment Insurance (EI), Workplace Safety and Insurance Benefits (WSIB), Ontario Works (OW), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), and working individuals.
  • Assistance is provided to anyone who is determined to be eligible once every 2 years (24 months) for a maximum of up to $1500 for singles and couples, $2000 for families.
  • Note: For utility assistance, you must have a disconnect notice,and for Rental arrears, you must have notice of eviction (N4). For mortgage arrears, you must have a letter stating the bank will not defer payment.

How to apply:

  • Housing Retention is now assisting with and processing applications in house.  Please contact Housing Retention directly at 705-722-3132 ext. 1833


OESP (Ontario Electricity Support Program)

The OESP is an Ontario Energy Board (OEB) program that lowers electricity bills for lower-income households. The OESP provides a monthly credit to eligible customers based on household income and household size. The OESP credits are applied directly to eligible customers’ bills.

For some customers, the need to use more power is necessary. If your home is electrically heated, or you rely on an approved medical device requiring a lot of electricity, OESP offers a higher level of assistance.

Eligibility and credit amount (estimate):

The OESP credit amount will depend on how many people live in the house and the combined household income after tax. The maximum income amount to qualify for the program is outlined below:

  • 1 person household with an income of $28,000 or less
  • 2 person household with an income range $28,001 – $39,000 or less
  • 3-4 person household with an income range $39,001 – $48,000 or less
  • 5-6 person household with an income range $48,001 – $52,000 or less

How to apply:

  • Customers can apply online www.ontarioelectricitysupport.ca. You need to complete the online application, print and sign the consent form, and mail it to the address provided on the OESP website, OR provide an e-signature.
  • A paper version of the application can be downloaded from the OESP application website at www.ontarioelectricitysupport.ca or can be mailed to applicants by the OESP Contact Centre upon request.
  • Customers unable to apply online or experiencing a change in income from the previous year meeting eligibility criteria can contact an intake agency. CONTACT Community Services is a designated intake center for the OESP application. Please contact us at 705-435-4900 ext. 212 to book an appointment in the South Simcoe area.


LEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance Program)

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) was created to help individuals or families who are struggling to pay their electricity bills throughout the year.

The program provides a one-time financial assistance grant of up to $500 per year, or $600, if electric heat is used. This grant is available to low-income or special circumstance residents who meet program criteria, whose utility accounts are in arrears and are faced with the threat of disconnection.


  • Hydro One (customers throughout Ontario)
  • Enbridge Gas (customers throughout Ontario)
  • Union Gas (customers throughout Ontario)
  • Veridian Connections (customers throughout Ontario)
  • Inn Power, formerly Innisfil Hydro (Simcoe County customers)
  • Alectra Utilities (formerly Powerstream) (Simcoe County, York Region and North York customers)

Funding may be available to low-income customers of natural gas or electricity distributors (and unit sub-metering providers) experiencing difficulty paying current arrears. A decision will be based on several factors including long-term viability of the account. A disconnection notice is not required to be eligible.

How to apply:

  • Call the United Way LEAP office at: 1-855-487-5327.
  • Eligible customers will then be directed to the closest Resource Centre for pre-screening by telephone to book a follow-up appointment.

Documents required for appointment include:

  • Photo ID for everyone in the home
  • Current utility bill
  • Copy of lease or mortgage
  • Proof of household income for everyone over the age of 18 years
  • A bank statement showing 30 days prior to the application date


Housing First

Housing First is an approach that focuses on moving people who are chronically and episodically homeless as rapidly as possible from the street or emergency shelters into permanent housing with supports that vary according to participant need. The supports are provided by a Housing First Case Manager, who serves as a main point of contact for the participant from assessment to follow-up and who is provided backed up support by a Housing First Supervisor, Housing First Specialist and a community of practice.

Housing First is usually based on 5 core principles:

  • Immediate access to permanent housing with no housing readiness requirements
  • Consumer choice and self-determination
  • Individual, recovery-oriented, and client driven supports
  • Harm Reduction
  • Social and community integration

Housing First requires a community of practice and specific program guidelines that reflect the geographical area of focus of the program.


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