In August we set the ambitious goal to secure housing for 100 people over a two-month period. The good news is that our volunteers have registered almost 60 units, and have educated many more landlords on the Housing Blitz. Affordability remains the driving issue. Even with subsidies, finding an affordable home in our community is extremely difficult.
We had hoped to secure housing for 100 people by this point. Securing housing does not mean immediate move-in but that people have signed a lease and will be moving in soon. Currently, there are four households that have been housed. We wanted more people to have homes at this date, but it matters that those four people have homes. We know the impact housing has on a person’s life.
We tried. We knew we might not reach our goal, but we tried. And we can’t learn if we don’t try. In this way, we don’t consider the Blitz a failure. It would have been a failure if we never tried. Housing is a human right. Homelessness is a policy failure and a public health issue, made worse by this pandemic. Now more than ever, having a home saves lives.
The Housing Blitz has laid the groundwork for a new way of connecting people with landlords. In many ways this is a test run. We have coordinated and built significant partnerships with landlords, the City of Ottawa Housing team, and service providers with the common goal of getting people housed.
We knew this wouldn’t be instant housing and the ultimate goal is to get people connected to homes before winter sets in. We’ve been refining the process as we go, have extended the Blitz and are working on a more targeted approach for the last few weeks. The vacancy rate is set to increase in the coming months, and sub-zero temperatures are coming.
In a city as wealthy as Ottawa, no one should be without a home. Right now,150 people are sleeping outside. We know there are 2,500 more households facing eviction in the coming months due to COVID-19 related non-payment. We cannot let this happen. We must try everything we can to get people housed and keep people housed.
Quote: “The Housing Blitz highlighted systemic issues to getting an affordable home in this city. The partnerships we’ve created during the Blitz will be crucial to ending homelessness in Ottawa. We’re proud to try something new and we’re proud to have gotten people housed. We are committed to moving forward maintaining the urgency that ending homelessness requires.” - Kaite Burkholder Harris