On Tuesday, local politicians — including Mayor Diane Therrien, MP For Peterborough-Kawartha Maryam Monsef, MPP Dave Smith, and Warden for Peterborough County J Murray Jones — gathered to hash out a concrete plan for the housing crisis in Peterborough.
As a result, Mayor Diane Therrien announced a 10-Point Plan for a Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing.
The plan includes implementing immediate relief, support and services to encourage those living in rough spaces to move indoors. The mayor will assign a ‘Rapid Shelter Task Force’ to help find more permanent, low-barrier shelter for the most vulnerable in Peterborough and submit a report to council in 60 days.
“As we know right now, part of the issue…is if people don’t have a place to go, they are choosing to stay out there so there is also going to be a community meeting on August 13, where we are bringing people with lived experience, front line workers , to better understand what are the challenges, why is it that people don’t want to move?” said Therrian.
The plan also includes updating the city’s draft Official Plan to ensure creative solutions for housing are available, such as allowing tiny homes through zoning and by-law amendments.
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“It became clear that over the next 60 days, there is going to be a group of leaders in our community who are going to come together and work with city officials to do a quick inventory and work with others to come up with plan ‘A’ for an overflow low barrier space, but also a plan ‘B’,” said MP Monsef.
“What became clear as a result of everybody coming together today was because we are all working together in this together, we are cautiously optimistic that more people and willing partners are going to come to the table.”
Therrien said the task force is going to meet as early as next week to work with others in the community and do an inventory of the homeless.
“We have one urgent need right now, and that is people who are not in any kind of a secure housing, people who are staying outside, people who are living rough as has been said a number of times, we need to address that,” Smith said.
“We are in this together, and I think we proved that today, and I think it’s time we get to work and get this done,” said Jones.
In the meantime, Therrien says they are looking at all the options because the city is in crisis mode. Therrien said she will provide progress updates on the plan to the community.
The Peterborough Public Library is providing a temporary space for emergency shelter from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. and 15 additional beds have also been opened at the YES Shelter, which are available to people of any age.
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