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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2006): Social housing - overseas

Neoliberalism, contingency and urban policy: the case of social housing in Ontario

J. Hackworth and A. Moriah

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol.30, 2006, p.510-527

Representatives of 47 social housing providers in Ontario wee interviewed to determine the extent to which neoliberal policy shifts initiated in the mid-1990s had affected their management and provisioning approach. Neoliberalism has sometimes manifested itself in simple funding cuts. However it has also pushed social policy generally to become more locally based. Small institutions, such as social housing providers, are encouraged to become more autonomous and businesslike, while individuals are discouraged from depending on welfare benefits. In the case of Ontario, social housing has experienced straightforward cutbacks in government funding. However, most providers complained that regulatory and funding changes had in fact reduced their autonomy and their opportunities to raise their own revenue. In sum, the reforms in Ontario have not led to greater choice for consumers, autonomy for managers, or freedom from state interference in the routine activities of social housing providers.

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