Getting homeless people into homes, quickly, is priority for Guelph mayoral candidate Danny Drew and incumbent Cam Guthrie.
Both support the Housing First approach. This means moving unhoused people into independent, unconditional, and permanent housing as soon as possible and following up with services.
Drew says we need to get homeless people off the streets and then give them help.
“It has been proven to work elsewhere and will work here.”
Guthrie is proud of Guelph city council’s work addressing homelessness last term, and has high hopes for the future.
“It would be an amazing thing to try to end homelessness in Guelph and I would like to have that happen this term.”
Candidates William Albabish, John Edward Krusky, and Nicholas A. Ross were contacted for comment but did not respond.
Shelagh McFarlane agreed to an interview and asked what marginalized means. She stopped responding after definition was given. McFarlane provided a link to her website where she accuses Guthrie of treason and fraud.
Guthrie says Guelph city council’s work last term included supportive housing projects and the Welcoming Streets Initiative.
“That’s where we have social workers, and it’s grown from one person to three people now that are actually on the ground. Their boots on the ground going to encampments or they are in the downtown cores. They are going up to people they are creating trust.”
The three supportive housing projects are expected to house about 80 people, or half of the people the city considers to be the most chronically homeless.
“My goal along with everybody else’s is we’ve got to get the rest housed as quickly as possible.”
Drew says the best way to quickly secure homes for homeless people is to address the issue of homes sitting empty for sometimes eight to fifteen years.
In lieu of the expropriation of these homes, which Drew doubts would pass council, they suggest imposing “a massive vacancy tax, as big as I could get 30% minimum.” They say this would incentivise people to sell empty homes, making them more affordable to buy and leading to lower rental prices.
Guthrie says a few months ago council passed a motion agreeing that the City of Guelph will match up to five thousand dollars in donations to the Home for Good Campaign.
The municipal election is on Monday, Oct. 24. Drew says, “make sure to vote for the person who is going to be fighting for your interests, not for the interest of the rich. We don’t need robber barons in charge of our city.”