GuelphToday asked the candidates running for the four major parties in Guelph a series of questions about the upcoming election. Responses were limited to 250 words.
Tonight's question: 'How would you address the issue of homelessness and increased dependency on community organizations?'
Raechelle Devereaux, Liberal:
This is an area I have worked in, in Guelph, for many years, and my desire to create lasting, dignified changes for people who face barriers is one of the reasons I’m running to be Guelph’s next Liberal MPP. The Ontario Liberal platform promotes a housing-first approach, and will also relaunch a homelessness census.
I’m proud to say Guelph leads in this area, specifically with our city’s targets to end chronic homelessness, which is also a Liberal commitment. In Guelph, our community organizations manage a “by-name list,” which allows us to have counts of people who are homeless, and provide targeted tracking of our effort to reduce homelessness.
Of the 1.5 million new homes that the Ontario Liberal Party has committed to building as part of its housing platform, 138,000 new homes would be designated social and supportive housing, similar the permanent supportive housing projects Guelph is already hard at work on.
James Parr, NDP:
I strongly believe that access to mental healthcare free of cost as part of our public healthcare system will go a long way. Beyond that, policies that bring pharmacare and dental care under OHIP, instatement of a $20 minimum wage, and stabilizing housing costs would be my first steps.
I am supportive of the NDP’s plan to build 100,000 new affordable homes, 60,000 supportive housing units and extend the lifespan of 260,000 existing homes, while restoring the goal of ending chronic homelessness within 10 years.
Mike Schreiner, Green Party:
I’m very proud of the work Guelph has done to reduce homelessness in our city, including the three supportive housing projects Kindle, Wyndham House and Grace Gardens. But there’s still so much work to do. Ontario needs to work to end homelessness by adopting a Housing First model, like used here in Guelph, to ensure that permanent housing solutions are the first priority when helping those in need. In particular – we need to restore the goal of ending homelessness in Ontario within ten years. Ontario Greens commit to:
● building 182,000 affordable community housing rental homes, including 60,000 permanent supportive homes that provide wrap-around supports for those in need
● resuming the homelessness census cancelled by the Ford government
● expanding rent control to all units and implementing vacancy control to limit rent increases and keep people in their homes
● engaging communities who have lived experience with homelessness in program development, as well as communities that face disproportionate levels of homelessness, including newcomers and racialized people in program development.
● reporting on disaggregated data on the proportion of the population that experiences chronic homelessness, unmet health needs, food insecurity, and low-paid work.
And to address poverty at its root level, Ontario Greens would phase in a basic income, with the first step being to double ODSP and OW to provide adequate support to those who are currently living in legislated poverty. Everyone deserves a place to call home.
Peter McSherry, Progressive Conservative: