Winter Help for Owen Sound's Homeless

A Temporary Solution for the Homeless This Winter

Below is an email that I sent out to all candidates to see if they would support a low cost solution to provide temporary housing for some of our homeless population this winter.  The responses were somewhat predictable. Current members of council were largely quiet on this topic while most candidates for council believe that if Charlottetown can do it why can't Owen Sound.. 

Candidates for Council,

It was announced in September that the city of Charlottetown, PEI will house its homeless this winter in modular sleeping units. You can read a number of articles on this initiative aimed at providing the homeless with a warm bed during the winter months at this link. Click or Tap Here

From what I can gather from these articles, each module costs about $30,000 and houses 4 or 5 beds. I know that the majority council members believe that Owen Sound’s homeless are the County’s problem. However, this is an opportunity for Owen Sound to be a leader among County municipalities.

Council has never been hesitant in the past to spend our tax dollars on services that are not at all highly valued by most of the community. Homelessness, however, is an issue that is on the minds of the many residents. This year Council approved a $500,000 budget increase for Transit. We now know that this increase, which was responsible for much of this year’s tax increase, was largely unnecessary. The contract price did not increase as anticipated and ridership is up so the budgeted 50% reduction the fare-box is unlikely to materialize.

Similarly, Council approved a 77% increase the Art Gallery budget over the last 5 year. As a result, we now spend $220,482 more each year on the Art Gallery than we did in 2018. In addition, Council approved two Art Gallery studies aimed at providing the gallery with a new $30 million building. Interestingly, the cost of these studies, $30,000, is pretty much the same as cost of one of these modular units that potentially could save a life this winter.

The community survey indicated that both Transit and the Art Gallery were services that were valued by less than 8% of residents. Yes Richard, we do measure “value” by the number of people who walk through the door. In contrast "affordable housing, cost of living, and homelessness" was identified as the number one issue facing Owen Sound today.

To current

I challenge you to put a motion before Council to direct staff to investigate, source and procure at least one modular unit to provide winter relief for a few of Owen Sound’s homeless this winter.

To Candidates
for council:

I challenge you to show up at council meetings and share your views on this homeless initiative.

Do you support this initiative to help Owen Sound's homeless keep warn this winter?

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1 comment on 1 page
I read the articles on how Charlottetown is housing their homeless over the winter. I see that the provincial government provide funds to make this happen. I don’t think our provincial government is going to come to the aid of Owen Sound’s homeless. So, as bad as taxes are now I think we need to buy some of these modules to house our homeless over the winter.  
Richard Tompkins

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