Good afternoon Councillor Swan,
I wanted to send you a brief email in advance of this week’s important budgetary meetings. In finding savings for the budget you had suggested holding payment into the housing reserve fund this year as it was not spent last year due to three projects falling through. As you know, Louise Steven’s plan for building the first 450 units of the Housing Strategies 1200 in years 1-3 has been approved by council. As you also know, the timing of these projects is tricky as it relates to Federal and Provincial funding, as well as private or non-profit partnerships. When the right project comes along, the City needs to be prepared to act, and have sufficient funding to do so, if we hope to come anywhere near the target. As an academic whose focus is on health and homelessness, I would suggest that continued payments into the housing reserve fund are essential as we know that although homelessness isn’t only a housing problem, it is always a housing problem.