Homelessness

Legislated Poverty Causes of Homelessness


I have already talked to developers about joining the call to have OW and ODSP incomes raised so that people in need can afford market rents as currently we do not have enough low income housing available. This is an initiative that takes all sectors working together to solve.


As a unified council, we should push back on the province and create a coalition of city councils. We need to demand the province fund accessible, low income housing. And insist that they raise ODSP and OW incomes. We also should petition them to pay for mental health programs and properly fund healthcare so people actually have options. They have a much larger budget than we do. Council can work with the Federal government, Wellington County and local poverty groups to help fund local housing initiatives. I would motion that we create tax incentives for developers who build rent-geared-to-income housing, and homeowners who rent to people that use social services or have lower incomes. Council can support nonprofit groups who are helping these residents. I would urge city council to help fund nonprofit work, shifting around the budget from other services that would be freed up by the results of assisting people in need. Helping people lowers crime, and puts money back into the economy, which is good for local businesses.


Accessibility Causes of Homelessness


Many disabled people cannot use traditional homes. I see this a lot through my advocacy with the Environmental Sensitivities Coalition of Canada. These disabilities are often misdiagnosed or cooccur with neurodivergencies and/or mental illnesses so they go unaccommodated. I have had conversations with the Guelph and Wellington Poverty Taskforce about these issues as the individuals end up 'sleeping rough' because products and other shelter residents are causing them physical reactions similar to allergies. Providing accessible housing and supportive housing to help with societal integration difficulties, or other disability supports would go a long way towards long term sustainable help for these people who have been failed by the system. Others with more visible disabilities also need accessible housing as we have 10-20 year long waitlists in some cases for even wheelchair accessible apartments.


Addiction as a Cause of Homelessness


Addiction is a medical condition and we need supportive housing for some people who are working through the earlier stages of recovery, just like we do with people who have mental illnesses or various cognitive and neurological disabilities. They need different supports, but a system needs to be in place so that even those who are not yet ready to recover have a safe place to live and be off the streets. Harm reduction is the first step.


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