In Cahdco’s ongoing effort to develop more affordable housing alternatives, partnerships have emerged as a driving force of change. In our recent event, we partnered with The Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa and the Ottawa Community Land Trust (OCLT), to discuss the potential impact of Ottawa’s new city budget as it relates to affordable housing development.
On Wednesday, January 3rd, councillors David Hill, Barrhaven West, and Laine Johnson, College Ward, joined moderators Sarah Button, Executive Director of CCOC, and Michelle Hurtubise, Executive Director of Centretown Community Health Centre, to answer questions on the topic.
When asked about the benefits of the increased budget, both councillors expressed how it signals commitment to change, but is not a complete solution. Additionally, Councillor Hill noted that the City cannot take full ownership of the solution and other levels of government need to be more involved.
This became a reoccurring theme, with Councillor Johnson expressing concern for how municipalities are scapegoated on the issue of affordable housing and an impression from senior levels of government that Cities are not doing enough.
Moving away from affordable housing and onto the specific problems facing unhoused people, Councillor Hill reaffirmed the need to create economic conditions that breed employment opportunities while also applying an “immediate band aid” in the short term. Councillor Johnson added the expansion of our unhoused population is a manifestation of many other issues and called for the support and funding of other government levels. She also called attention to the disproportionate number of unhoused refugees, calling for more focused support and services.
In addition to the moderator led discussion, members of the audience were encouraged to share questions, thoughts, and concerns. One individual shared their concern for the lack of bylaw officers enforcing short term rental rules. Both councillors committed to following up on the issue, with Councillor Hill sharing his continued concern and previous advocacy in the problem space.
To conclude, both councillors demonstrated their commitment to expanding affordable housing policy and provided answers to the community’s most pressing questions. If you’re in Ottawa and passionate about affordable housing, Cahdco will be hosting similar events every month along with the Ottawa CLT and the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa.