In February 2019, I spoke these words at the State of the City address to describe homelessness in Guelph:
This is an issue that has to be solved. We cannot be a community if we’re leaving people behind…No longer can I say ‘it’s their problem, it’s the provincial government’s problem or it’s the federal government’s problem’ and a year goes by and another year goes by and another year goes by and the same people aren’t getting help. We must step up.
It is amazing to think about the collective action that has taken place in our community before and since. Thanks to the dedicated work of members of the Mayors Task Force on Homelessness, the Poverty Task Force, and staff at both the City and County of Wellington we have developed a nationally recognized plan to solve homelessness. This plan has inspired the development of three new Permanent Supportive Housing Projects which will create homes for 72 members of our community and reduce the stress on our temporary housing system.
To bring these projects to life we need funding. The United Way of Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin and the Guelph Community Foundation (in partnership with the Poverty Task Force) have joined forces to run the $5 million Home for Good capital campaign that is raising money to build and maintain these new units. This money will be in addition to the $16.8 million already pledged by all three levels of government to support the campaign.
To show our unwavering support for the campaign, the City of Guelph set aside $500,000 from our Affordable Housing Reserve for a matching fund program to encourage everyone in our community to contribute. Simply put, we have been able to double the gifts that have been made to the campaign.
This matching gift directly aligns with our goal to “work with partners to create smart programs and policies that enable more people to obtain housing.” I am excited about the impact we can make through it together.
No gift has been too big or small. Parents have given to the campaign as birthday gifts for their adult children. Faith communities have raised money specifically for Home for Good. Individual donors and philanthropists have made gifts from their family endowments. No matter where these gifts come from they all are making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in our community.
Our matching grant is open to corporate gifts as well. Large and small businesses have made contributions to the campaign. Some have even invited their staff and customers to give. Through all your generous donations, the City was able to double the impact. A made-in-Guelph double-double!
Our community has a plan to solve homelessness. Now is the time for each of us to show our support by giving to The Home for Good campaign. Every dollar makes a difference.
About This Post
Cam Guthrie is the mayor of the City of Guelph. In January 2019, Mayor Guthrie convened a task force of community leaders and agencies to take action on the issues of homelessness, addiction, and mental health needs in Guelph. He has been a strong voice in supporting Guelph’s homelessness plan. This article is part of a series of posts exploring homelessness in Guelph/Wellington and the solutions that the Home for Good Campaign brings the community.
Learn more at HomeForGoodGW.ca