Pride has never been a single battle. The bricks thrown at Stonewall created a ripple effect of change that persists, and grows, and marches on year by year. But in many ways, complacency is among our greatest enemies. With the slow march of progress we’ve seen over the last decades, we may not see the challenges that continue to lead our young people to such a drastic over-representation in street-involved populations.
On August 12th, we celebrate International Youth Day in Canada. Since its inception by the UN General Assembly on August 12, 2000, International Youth Day has served to increase the quality and quantity of opportunities available to youth, so that they can actively participate in society. It’s also a day for local youth to raise awareness of the cultural and legal issues faced by youth in their area.
Here in Ottawa, organizations like Operation Come Home advocate for the basic rights of youth on a daily basis by supporting those who are experiencing homelessness, and facing discrimination, mental health issues, challenges with the justice system, and barriers to income, health and education. Below is an article written by a team member at Operation Come Home, speaking to how as a community we must respond to the needs of youth, so that they can flourish by feeling a sense of security, opportunity, and belonging. We need to start by housing our youth, because Youth #StartsWithHome.
Ottawa is home to some incredible neighbourhoods, with engaged community associations, highly prized small businesses and large-scale enterprises, unique artists, and beautiful architecture. Ottawa is also a place with a housing and homelessness emergency. As lack of affordability drives displacement, we are noting the loss of the people who make these neighbourhoods, businesses, and local sites special.
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As a city, we can choose to create the city we aspire to be: one that is sustainable, accessible, and welcoming to all; we can choose to create vibrant places that enhance our sense of belonging; we can choose to strive for housing that is affordable, sustainable, beautiful and adapts to our changing needs. Every decision we make is a choice on the path to the city we aspire to be.
To truly have an impact on homelessness in our community, we must lead with and be led by Indigenous knowledge.
Ottawa is located on unceded Algonquin, Anishnabek territory. These lands were stolen from the traditional keepers for the purposes of settlers. Dispossession of land is just one form of ongoing colonization that has led to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people disproportionately experiencing homelessness.
DEPUTATION June 2022
Inclusionary zoning is a powerful tool at the City’s disposal to create more affordable housing. A strong inclusionary zoning policy would ensure that new builds have permanent affordable units, based on a household’s income. In order to have an impact on the housing and homelessness crisis in Ottawa, a strong Inclusionary Zoning policy would ensure a baseline of 20% to an eventual target of 30% of new units would be affordable to households with modest income, and that a portion of these units reserved for households making under $24,000 per year.
DEPUTATION June 2022
I want to start by saying that we can end homelessness. It’s a systems issue, and it needs systems-level solutions. Maintaining the crisis is expensive, and solving it is the economical solution.
Without stable, affordable housing, people with mental illness are at increased risk of chronic homelessness.
As Mental Health Awareness Month wraps up, we wanted to share some insights from some of our collaborators, to hold in focus how critical stable, affordable housing is for people with mental illness, and why the Starts With Home campaign recognizes that Mental Health #StartsWithHome.
OTTAWA, ON April 19th 2022 The University of Ottawa’s Centre for Research on Education and Community Services and the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa will host a virtual discussion on Wednesday, April 20th, at 7PM, to explore how Ottawa can and must stop the loss of affordable housing units in the city. This is the second event of the “Starts With Home” campaign, exploring one of its three key messages.
OTTAWA, ON - Two years following Ottawa’s declaration as the first Canadian city to have a housing and homelessness emergency, the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa has launched the “Starts With Home” campaign. The non-partisan campaign aims to rally residents together to support affordable housing with their vote in October’s municipal election.