Barrie city council and not the County of Simcoe council need to plan, manage, and implement the homelessness portfolio and directly receive the associated Federal and Provincial funding to do so.
I say this for several reasons
No member of the County of Simcoe council live in the city of Barrie and none are elected by Barrie residents. They cannot be held accountable by Barrie residents for their actions or lack thereof.
The current homelessness crisis needs immediate attention, our having to go through an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy (i.e., the county) simply creates unnecessary delays and decisions made at the county level quite often do not fully meet the needs of our city.
Our city is growing, as we grow, we will not only have residents arriving that are of good health and financial stability. Our homeless population will also grow. We need the autonomy, complete with the proper provincial funding, to properly plan for the growth of those who find themselves homeless in our community.
With greater autonomy we can work far more strategically with our charities, volunteers and support service providers.
I believe in evidence-based decision making and the evidence clearly shows that the Provincially built and managed social housing units of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s worked. They made a difference. The province stopped this program in 1995.
I will, if elected as mayor, rally my fellow mayors and other municipal leaders to join me in advocating that the province commits to re-engaging in this type of housing.
I would work with the Federal and Provincial governments in an undertaking that would see a greater amount of rental units constructed. Rental units that are mixed market in nature.