100 signatures reached
To: 2022 - All Candidates for Owen Sound City Council
Homeward Bound Owen Sound
IMAGE - 'Where You Try to Live' by Owen Sound artist and activist - Elaine Doy - 30"x40" Oil on gallery-depth canvas - Available
Owen Sound’s recent mayor, deputy mayor and most city councillors have been vocal about not wanting the municipality to engage on the attainable housing and homelessness file, preferring to leave it to the County and other levels of governments.
As the rising costs of housing, the challenges for employers needing housing for workers and the numbers of homeless people and encampments outside Owen Sound City Hall and in the downtown core has made clear, this is an ineffective and costly approach.
It is important for the mayor, deputy mayor, city councillors, and their staff to embrace a can-do attitude with respect to attainable housing and homelessness. Funding is available from federal and provincial programs to help our city government.
For example, the federal government can provide ongoing technical and staffing support through the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System.
The April 2022 federal budget provides municipal governments with a menu of pro-growth housing policies such as ongoing technical and staffing support, transferable development rights for homeowners and shot-clock approval deadlines. A new Housing Accelerator Fund can help turn words into actions by rewarding municipal governments that embrace densification. Federal transfers for housing can be conditioned to further increase the upside for municipalities approving new development. Ottawa is also researching and sharing digital solutions for issuing permits, developing an app-based platform to manage, track and accelerate permitting processes from all levels of government – not just municipal.
Owen Sound is not currently identified as a recipient of these funds – the next council must make use of every available resource to address issues.
The next city council must create and implement an Affordable Housing and Homelessness Plan.
Yes, we can end homelessness. Other cities are doing it and so can Owen Sound.
Why is this important?
Poor housing and homelessness is costly for cities and taxpayers.
The average monthly costs of shelter beds are $1,932, almost ten times higher than the average monthly cost of social housing of $199.92.
In addition, homeless people and those poorly housed have a higher rate of illness.
The monthly cost of a hospital bed is $10,900.
Preventing eviction is often the most effective way to prevent homelessness.
If the next Owen Sound mayor and city council chooses to continue to be inactive in addressing attainable housing and homelessness, they must be held accountable for the additional individual and societal costs to health and justice services associated with an increase in homelessness.
Join the Movement! Add your voice to hundreds of neighbours and community members who want our next City Council to support a bold vision for solving Owen Sound's housing and homelessness crisis - starting with an Affordable Housing and Homelessness Plan.
How it will be delivered
Rebound Owen Sound will present this petition at the upcoming Rebound Owen Sound All-Candidates forum at the Harmony Centre on Wed. Oct. 12th 7PM.