Activist pushes city on affordable housing
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Dec 14, 2007  |  Vote 0    0

Activist pushes city on affordable housing

Stratford Gazette

A local anti-poverty activist is continuing to push council to address the lack of affordable housing in the city.

At Monday night's council meeting, Julian Ichim reiterated an idea he and other members of SAFE presented to council a few months ago, suggesting derelict properties in the city be expropriated to make way for affordable housing.

"At this point in time, it is getting colder and colder with each passing day," he said, in his presentation. "The list for affordable housing is growing longer and longer."

He said the Cooper site has sat derelict without a use for the past decade, while people have been forced to sleep on the streets and single mothers forced to raise their children in inadequate housing.

"It should be noted in this city a big portion who are living in poverty are women and children," he said. "I ask city council to move forward on dealing with these issues, on dealing with the fact the Cooper site is standing there serving no purpose other than being an eyesore."

Coun. Keith Culliton questioned whether women and children were sleeping in snowbanks.

"I thought we had a policy to help these people?" he said.

Bill Tigert, director of social services, said there are several programs available, including hostel and homelessness prevention programs, to help those in need. He said some people do not want the help such programs offer. He said there are about 120 people currently waiting for affordable housing in the city, most of them being single individuals.

SAFE first pitched their idea to council in June, presenting a bylaw called Use it or Lose it, suggesting if a property is left derelict for up to four years, the city step in a expropriate the property.

The organization suggested the city establish a committee to identify properties.

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