Last weekend I had a radio interview about social media and municipal politics. I noted that social media was important in helping citizens stay informed municipally, as well as creating a venue for people to collaborate on engagement. Particularly, I talked about the affordable housing reserve fund, and the fact that in a few short weeks we created the largest response to an issue that councilors serving a second term had ever seen. However, I noted that in spite of the increased engagement, we had yet to have any influence on policy, to actually effect a vote.
This all changed on Tuesday night when Council voted to use $1M from the $4.6M surplus to boost the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund contribution back up to $2M. In the same meeting they approved that the 2013 contribution be set at $2M. This motion was actually introduced by Councillor Henderson, who had originally voted to cut out the money, but stated that this was all that the citizens in his ward had been talking about since the budget. This means that we have been heard, and because of this, $1M is going back into providing places to live for the most vulnerable in our community.
I would suggest that any charitable giving that you do this year will pale in comparison to what you have achieved with this $1,000,000. What do we get for one million? In the City’s current RFP they are providing $55,000 per unit, which means that we have created 18 new homes for 18 individuals or families per year. When else will you have the opportunity to end homeless for 18 individuals or families each year? This is an amazing achievement, and I congratulate you all on this!