Ottawa, your city needs your voice.
More than 1,000 people slept in shelters last night, including more than 500 who are chronically homeless, meaning they have been sleeping in shelters for more than 18 months. The wait list for community housing has grown to 12,000 households. There are 600 families in cramped motel rooms throughout the city who will not likely get housing for at least a year.
Is this acceptable to you?
Speak up now and support the Housing Emergency Declaration. It declares an emergency in housing and homelessness in Ottawa, acknowledges that we can’t manage this crisis alone and calls on provincial and federal governments to increase emergency funding. Most importantly, it puts finding housing solutions at the top of Council’s to-do list.
Why is Refugee 613 speaking up?
We represent a coalition of faith groups, refugee sponsors, volunteers and service providers who work every day to build a city where everyone feels like they belong, like they have a future here. One of the most fundamental ways to feel like you belong is having a roof over your head, but that’s harder than it has been for generations. Housing is harder to find, harder to afford, harder to hang on to and it’s not just newcomers who struggle — it’s women and children fleeing domestic violence, it’s people struggling with mental health, it’s hard-working people one stroke of bad luck away from losing whatever precarious accommodation they’ve got.
Be part of the solution and tell Council you want them to treat housing like the crisis it is. Here are three easy ways to make an impact:
1. Make sure your city councillor hears from you before Wednesday. Write an email, call or visit their office, or tag them on social media and make it known that you want to see action on the housing emergency. Councillors pay attention to the people who speak up, so don’t assume others are speaking for you.
Contact them here.
2. Sign the petition to declare an official housing emergency. This puts the issue on City Council’s agenda until it’s resolved, meaning that councillors have to consider housing needs in decision-making. That may seem like common sense but it’s not happening now — we need the declaration to make it so.
Sign the petition here.
3. Come to the Rally To Declare a Housing Emergency this Wednesday, Jan 29, at 9 am, just before Council discusses the motion to declare an emergency. Look for the Refugee 613 team — we will be there! It’s a few minutes of your time to show that housing matters to you.
For more information and to RSVP click here.
It’s Who We Are.
You might think this is a downtown issue, but it’s an everywhere issue. The same way the flooding wasn’t just a Britannia issue and the tornadoes weren’t just a Dunrobin or Trend Arlington issue. In Ottawa we pride ourselves on taking care of our own, to keep this city strong and vibrant, no matter where you’re from.