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Tell Dean Housing People is Not too Expensive!!

Peterborough is suffering from an epidemic.  It is hidden pretty well, most of us can live our lives without even having to see it, but it is deadly.  It is a housing epidemic.  It is generally accepted that housing that is affordable should cost about 30% of your pre-tax income.  In Peterborough, over 50% of the population spends more then this.  To a single person on Ontario Works (welfare) an average bachelor apartment costs more to rent then their whole monthly check.  A single parent with one child living on OW will pay 95% of their income on a 2 bedroom apartment.  This has resulted in an increase in both Food Bank and Shelter usage in our city over the past couple years.  It also results in many in our community living in rooming houses that are crowded, filthy, falling apart and generally unacceptable.  For these horrible rooms many pay between $350-$500.

As someone who has tried to do something on the political end of this issue I have been very frustrated.  No matter which level of government you go to, they will always pass the buck to the other levels.  There is no cohesive, unified plan.  But this could change.  Currently in the House of Commons Bill C-304 has been put forward to create a National Housing Strategy.  The bill calls for an increased federal role in housing through investments in

  • Not for profit housing;
  • Housing for the homeless;
  • Access to housing for those with different needs including seniors and persons with disabilities;
  • and Sustainable and environmentally sound design standards for new housing, that go beyond the one-time stimulus investment contained in Budget 2009.

This could be a big step in addressing homelessness, unacceptable housing and poverty in general in our country and in our city.  This bill has been supported by many including the Canadian Medical Association and The Ontario Human Rights Commission.

I noticed that at the first reading in the House of Commons my MP Dean Del Mastro voted against the bill.  I phoned and left a message asking him to reconsider.  The very next day Dean was the most vocal opponent of the bill saying that it would cost Canadians to much money.  Look at this list of spending at the G8/G20 in June.  How can a government who spent this amount of money on hosting the most powerful people in the world say it is to expensive to protect the most vulnerable within their borders.

Mr Del Mastro is supposed to speak for us.  Do you believe that it is to expensive to house those who are struggling in our city?  Let’s let him know!  The bill will be voted on likely next week, before that happens lets bombard him with phone calls and emails telling him that this bill needs to pass, that he did not speak for us last week.  Get your friends to do the same.  His email is delmad@parl.gc.ca, and his phone number in Peterborough is (705) 745-2108 and in Ottawa is (613) 995-6411.  We live in a country where we can have a voice in what happens, lets use it.

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About christianharvey

I am a youth worker, husband, dad and drummer.

4 responses to “Tell Dean Housing People is Not too Expensive!!

  1. Pam Sedore ⋅

    I do not live in your city, but i have seen in other city’s homelessness! it is very sad that we Canadian’s can not afford some sort of housing here for our homeless. I strongly dissagree with Mr. Del Mastro….he feels we can not afford to help…then he should try it for awhile and not just a month, let him live homeless for a year and see if he feels he that we cannot afford it.
    There be something we can do to help our less fortunate?

    Pam Sedore

  2. Carolyn Reynolds ⋅

    Below is my email to our MP:

    Dear Mr. Del Mastro,
    It has come to my attention that you have been a vocal opponent to Bill C-304, which proposes a National Housing Strategy. Your opposition is of great concern to me.

    As a health care professional who works in the Home Care sector, I see firsthand how inadequate many housing facilities are. I also see the effects of inadequate housing; stress, mental illness, pain, poor health and increased disability can be directly related to housing which is insufficient. Individuals with special needs and with low incomes spend so much of their money on housing, often living in horrific conditions, that they have nothing left to meet their other needs. And what is the result of this? Health care costs increase, demand on food banks and other social supports increase, and they do not have the opportunity to contribute productively to our society because they are so burdened.

    You have stated that we cannot afford a national housing strategy. I plead with you to reconsider. I would respond that we cannot afford not to have a national housing strategy. The elderly, people with disabilities, people with low incomes and others in difficult situations are suffering and struggling here and now, and this problem is likely to grow exponentially. I hope that you will hear the voices of your constituents and vocally support C-304.

    Sincerely,
    Carolyn Reynolds

  3. Jodi Podaltis ⋅

    I do not live in Peterborough however I have traveled quite extensively throughout North America and I am appalled at the amount of homeless people we have in our society. It frustrates me that our government can find the money to fund such things as gun registries and summits but cannot find the funds to shelter and feed their own people. It is time we stop supporting unnecessary activities and put our tax dollars to work helping these people help themselves.

    The answer is not to throw money at subsidizing housing for extended periods of time. The answer is to help the less fortunate get their self esteem back funding projects that will give these people the skills required to become self sufficient again. Provide them with the housing and basic needs during their training period so that they can concentrate on bettering themselves so they can get back on their feet again. These people need to get their dignity and self respect back in order for them to thrive and become part of a better society.

    Please help them to help themselves!

  4. Brock Grills ⋅

    I e-mailed Dean Delmastro and told him that I was appalled to his opposition

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