Housing is one of the biggest factors that impact individual health and well being. When we don’t have it, everything can fall apart. Having a safe place to call home that is affordable, accessible, and appropriate is something everyone deserves.
When people have the housing they need, our whole community benefits. Housing has a positive impact on health outcomes, social inclusion, and participation in education and employment. In fact, investing in appropriate housing saves public dollars associated with health care, emergency service, and shelter costs.
In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in Guelph and Wellington to reduce housing pressures for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. These efforts include creating new Permanent Supportive Housing that provides a safe and comfortable place to live and day-to-day medical and social service support.
Permanent Supportive Housing creates an opportunity for members of our community who face incredible pressures to access lifesaving housing. And yet, it often faces strong opposition when first introduced. What often underpins this concern are the stereotypes about the people who will live there. We often hear misconceptions that this type of housing will decrease property values, make a community less safe and not fit with the neighbourhood. While research confirms this isn’t true, these perceptions create stigma for future supportive housing neighbours, who like each of us want and deserve to live in a safe and welcoming community.
The Poverty Task Force believes that permanent supportive housing, including the three projects being funded through the Home for Good Campaign, are key to ending homelessness in Guelph-Wellington. We know the 72 new units the campaign is supporting will make a positive impact on our community and the individuals who will call them home.
The Ontario Human Rights Code supports that everyone has the right to be free from discrimination in housing and can live in a neighbourhood of their choice. As a champion for Yes, In my Backyard (YIMBY), the Poverty Task Force believes we have a collective responsibility to make our community welcoming to everyone. We can help make this a reality by publicly supporting housing projects that will meet community needs in my neighbourhood and yours. Together we can support a caring community where everyone has the housing they need.
About This Post
Dominica McPherson is a long-time housing advocate and Director of the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination. This is the first in a series of posts exploring homelessness in Guelph/Wellington and the solutions that the Home for Good Campaign is bringing to the community.