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Ottawa shelters feeling the pinch as need for affordable housing increases

Affordable housing needs hitting middle income earners as well as those with low income.
ottawa mission
Ottawa Mission

The Ottawa Mission has been at capacity for months, including right through the summer, and it's worried about what winter will bring. 

Executive Director Peter Tilley said this is just another example of the affordable housing crisis here in Ottawa. He understands the city's struggle, as he witnesses it on a daily basis. 

"We had 20 mats down on the chapel room floor -- that's the maximum we can put down," Tilley explained on Ottawa Today with Marck Sutcliffe, Monday. "As the weather gets colder, we've got more people waiting in the front lounge area and that's not comfortable, that's not comfy seats, that's plastic chairs."  

He pointed to the lack of affordable housing in Ottawa for people in crisis, like the folks living in the 'tent city' near Bayview Station. 

When it comes to resolving the lack of housing issue in Ottawa, Tilley believes it's time for city council to step up and approach other levels of government. 

"About two-and-a-half years ago the federal government released a national housing strategy," he explained. "So, we need to hold them accountable for that and see these investments that were promised back then."

Tilley said housing and homelessness is one of the top concerns for people living in Ottawa, and he noted that it's not just something that affects low income earners. 

"People in crisis are drawing attention to the fact that there's not even housing for middle income people, let alone for people at lower income or beyond." 

He explained that people are getting low income jobs and are looking to set up and start a life, but there just isn't enough housing stock. 

"Part of the problem being, where the investments are occurring, where the building is occurring is the higher-end luxury condos, apartments and a higher scale for people."

But, Tilley said this is not a new issue -- instead, it's an issue the city has been facing for quite a while.



Jenn Pritchard

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