Mayor needs to make use of Guelph metropolis funds to match donations to supportive housing marketing campaign
Mayor Cam Guthrie is looking to use city funds he says are sitting and doing nothing, and put it toward supportive housing.
In a post to his blog July 15, the mayor announced he intends to bring a motion forward to the July 18 council meeting that would see the city use money from its affordable housing reserve fund to match donations to the Home for Good campaign, which is looking to raise money for supportive housing projects in Guelph.
“This is a unique opportunity, for it to be a rallying cry to the community around this issue, to bring real awareness to this issue,” Guthrie told the Mercury Tribune.
“This is what I believe is such an outside-of-the-box idea, that it really could put Guelph on the map for upper levels of government or other stakeholders that are able to say, ‘Hey, do you see what Guelph is doing? Did you see how their community is rallying around supportive housing?’”
Home for Good, launched this past May, is looking to raise $5 million, with those funds aimed at cutting the number of people experiencing homelessness in Guelph in half. The campaign, co-led by the Guelph Community Foundation and United Way Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin, will initially be focused on the completion of three supportive housing projects underground in the city.
Under Guthrie’s proposal, the city would use up to $500,000 from the affordable housing reserve fund to match donations made to that campaign.
“I’ve seen the federal government do initiatives like this when it comes to issues of crisis, like a natural disaster or trying to support efforts in Ukraine,” he said, adding those campaigns have been “shown to really bring people together around a common cause, to support those issues.”
“So I thought about how that could translate from a more global crisis issue to a local crisis issue, and how could a local municipality respond in the same manner.”
Guthrie’s motion will come as part of the ratification vote for a number of measures initially approved by council earlier this month, all aimed at addressing homelessness, addiction and mental health issues in Guelph, especially in the downtown core.
Much of the discussion during that meeting was on how the provincial government needs to step up and do its part, and, as Coun. Dominique O’Rourke put it, “The municipality will never, ever be able to meet the needs of mental health and addiction in our community.”
Guthrie said his proposal, if approved, would demonstrate to the province that not only is the city doing its part, it is going above and beyond that, and still needs assistance from Queen’s Park.
“We are exceeding the criteria you need, and look at how our community is pulling together,” Guthrie said of what he sees as the message his motion sends.
“No more excuses; now you need to do your part.”
The July 18 council meeting gets underway at 6:30 pm, and will be streamed live online at guelph.ca/live.