City urged to work with MP on hous­ing

‘There’s money for hous­ing in Peter­bor­ough in Ot­tawa’

The Peterborough Examiner - - Front Page - JOELLE KO­VACH Ex­am­iner Staff Writer

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

JES­SICA NYZNIK EX­AM­INER

Sta­tus of Women Min­is­ter and Peter­bor­ough-Kawartha MP Maryam Mon­sef wants to work with coun­cil.

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