On December 11, Ottawa City Council’s Liaison for Housing and Homelessness and City Councillor for Somerset Ward, Catherine McKenney tabled a notice of motion to declare a housing emergency in the City of Ottawa.
The Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa (ATEHO) strongly supports the upcoming motion and urges members of the public to show their support by signing thepetition at www.housingemergencyottawa.ca.
The Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa is a member-driven coalition of local organizations and individuals collaborating and advocating to prevent and end homelessness in Ottawa. We know that livable cities are the foundation for a strong resilient community, sustainable economy and a place where all people can thrive.
Ottawa is experiencing an affordable housing and homelessness crisis:
The total number of people using an overnight emergency shelter in Ottawa increased 6.5% in 2018 to a record high of almost 8000 unique individuals.
Although Housing First programs have helped to house 882 individuals since April 2015, and 225 have graduated off the program, the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness remains almost unchanged and has become significantly worse for families. There has been a steady upward increase in family homelessness over the past five years. In 2018, there were over 1000 families, comprising of over 3600 individual family members who experienced homelessness, representing a 10.6% increase from 2017.
Homelessness for single men has increased by 1.4% and for women by 5.5% and at a greater rate than the overall population increase in Ottawa.
There were over 12,000 applicants on the centralized waiting list for social housing in 2018, a 14.8% increase and an all-time high.
The Alliance encourages the City to take a strong, action-oriented approach to dealing with housing and homelessness by allocating the resources necessary to effectively address Ottawa’s housing emergency. However, the City cannot solve the housing and homelessness crisis alone. The Alliance urges the federal and provincial governments to increase emergency funding for housing, housing supports, and housing allowances, and a long-range financial plan to address this crisis situation.
In a city such as Ottawa, one of the wealthiest cities in Canada, there is no need for homelessness and housing insecurity to be continuing and growing at the current rates. Investments are critical to addressing the ongoing needs.