City urged to work with MP on housing
‘There’s money for housing in Peterborough in Ottawa’
Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef invited the next mayor and city council to work with her toward getting federal money to build much-needed housing.
“Whoever gets elected will have four years to work with the federal government, and with the provincial government, to build housing in Peterborough — and there’s money for housing in Peterborough in Ottawa right now,” Monsef said in an interview Friday.
Peterborough’s apartment vacancy rate has been stuck at one per cent for awhile now, leaving many people struggling to find someplace to live.
At least 259 people in Peterborough city and county were homeless when a team of volunteers went out over four days in March to do a count.
That’s up from 120 homeless people the last time a count was done in 2016 — although that count used fewer volunteers, took place over a single evening and covered only the city and not the county.
From March 20 to 23, more than 80 volunteers conducted the count; they canvassed city streets as well as emergency shelters, drop-in centres and other community service locations.
Homelessness and the need for affordable housing has become a municipal election issue, in Peterborough.
Mayor Daryl Bennett — who is running for re-election against Diane Therrien — has said during the campaign that he’s expecting no money from the federal government for housing for at least a year.
At two separate debates, Bennett said that no money from the National Housing Strategy will come to cities such as Peterborough until after the next federal election in fall 2019.
But in an interview on Friday, Monsef said the federal government has spent more than $12 billion on housing — and that it plans to fund a further $40 billion over the next decade.
“Those dollars are being spent by
municipalities right now,” Monsef said. “We need to build housing in Peterborough. It’s a shared priority for all of us — and it is a top priority for me.”
Monsef also said there’s money set aside in the National Housing Strategy to house seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and for women-led families.
Meanwhile a new five-year plan to boost the availability of affordable housing in the city and County of Peterborough is about to be developed — and public consultations are about to take place.
There will be two large consultation sessions at Peterborough Square next month where people
We need to build housing in Peterborough. It’s a shared priority for all of use -- and it is a top priority for me. MARYAM MONSEF PETERBOROUGH-KAWARTHA MP
can learn about the plan and have their say on Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Nov. 25 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The city is also looking for people to take part in a committee to help guide the city’s plans to alleviate homelessness. For more information, see www.peterborough.ca\ haveyoursay
Status of Women Minister and Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef wants to work with council.