City council is looking to the province to take a leadership role on finding solutions to homelessness.
A motion that passed at Tuesday night’s meeting calls on the province to acknowledge the issue is a crisis, commit to ending homelessness and work with various partners to find solutions.
Deputy Mayor Maggie Horsfield says part of a resolution campaign from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario is to call on the province for action.
“I recognize that the housing and homelessness challenges we are experiencing are not unique to North Bay,” she says. “It is a province-wide challenge that requires urgent collaborative action with strong policies and investments in affordable housing, income assistance and mental health and addictions support.”
Horsfield says there’s no one size fits all solution and the current models for support are “not making ends meet”.
Councillor Mark King says discussions at the provincial level have been quite good, but they need federal support too.
He says it was disappointing to see two local applications to the Rapid Housing program be denied in the past two and a half years.
“Other than the City of Sudbury [which] received $6 million from that Rapid Housing program, no one else in Northern Ontario received that funding envelope from the federal government,” he says.
The motion is now being forwarded to various provincial ministers and municipal organizations.
Still at city hall, council has directed the interim CAO to suspend the city’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, which was put in place in the fall of 2021.