Elected officials have launched a task force to tackle affordable housing challenges in the riding.
Today, elected representatives in Ottawa—Vanier from the provincial and municipal levels of government — launched an Affordable Housing Task Force which will strive to assist with finding solutions for the riding and beyond.
The Housing Task Force, led by Ottawa—Vanier MPP Lucille Collard, includes Ottawa City Councillors Tim Tierney (Ward 11, Beacon Hill-Cyrville), Mathieu Fleury (Ward 12, Rideau-Vanier) and Rawlson King (Ward 13, Rideau-Rockcliffe).
MPP Collard pledged to create the Task Force in her election platform earlier this year given the growing challenge and hardship around the lack of adequate, safe and affordable housing options in Ottawa—Vanier, as well as throughout the city. Ottawa currently has a social housing wait list that exceeds 12,000 families, a nearly 15% increase since 2017.
“Regardless of background or socio-economic circumstances, the current lack of affordable housing and its impact on our community is an issue that constituents raise consistently,” said Collard. “After speaking with my elected colleagues, we determined that by pooling our knowledge and resources together, we would be most effective at helping solve this critical housing issue.”
Task Force members have each worked on projects related to improving housing affordability and reducing homelessness in their respective roles. However, the group sees this initiative as a new opportunity to find creative solutions.
Already, the group has agreed that a focus should be placed on reducing the number of Ottawa families currently waiting to access social housing, especially those currently living in crowded motel rooms. The Task Force also seeks to focus on creating safe spaces for Inuit women and children seeking shelter and permanent housing, especially those fleeing violence.
To build on the many positive initiatives that have already taken place locally, the group will be looking at specific actions and tools that could pave the way to the creation of more affordable housing. These include identifying and mapping available lands owned by all levels of government to create a comprehensive list of potential properties where new affordable and/or social housing could be located. It would also entail taking a larger view of what possible funding and partnership opportunities could be leveraged, from federal, provincial and municipal government programs and grants to private sector support and investments. Lastly, coordinating legislative efforts to ensure that all levels of government are working in a complimentary way.
The Task Force began its preliminary work and will seek engagement from various community stakeholders and housing experts to inform its strategy and activities over the coming months.
Quotes from Ottawa—Vanier Affordable Housing Task Force members:
“Housing affordability has always been a complex challenge to solve. And now, the pandemic and current economic circumstances only add to the challenge. However, by bringing the right people to the table and looking at all our options collaboratively, we have a better chance at making a difference in the lives of the many Ottawa—Vanier residents deeply impacted by poor housing options.”
--Lucille Collard, MPP for Ottawa—Vanier
“Housing affordability and homelessness in the City of Ottawa has moved beyond an urgent crisis into an emergency that is threatening our quality of life. I am therefore pleased to be a participant in the Affordable Housing Task Force with my municipal and provincial colleagues to seek serious solutions to address and solve the serious housing challenges that we face in Ottawa-Vanier.”
--Rawlson King, City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe (Ward 13)
Over the course of the COVID19 pandemic, we have seen how the City’s Housing and Homelessness Emergency has only worsened. Ottawa is a big City. We must ensure everyone in our City has a key to a unit, with a lease. I am glad to play a leadership role along with other elected officials in the Ottawa-Vanier Affordable Housing Task Force. We must put focus on investments in housing with more than 12 000 residents in need of affordable housing in our City.
--Mathieu Fleury, City Councillor for Rideau-Vanier (Ward 12)
“Assembling the knowledge and resources of our municipal and provincial colleagues, in addition to other community stakeholders as members of this task force; is a step in the right direction to help mitigate the lack of affordable housing. Together we can make great strides to work towards viable solutions to assist those that need it most. The process will take time, but it can be realized.”
-- Tim Tierney, City Councillor for Beacon Hill-Cyrville (Ward 11)