Today’s episode has a few updates on local council and public meetings including the region’s recent public input budget session and Cambridge’s State of the City year in review video.
However, the majority of today’s show focuses on the issue of affordable housing. Given the recent approval of Kitchener’s Housing For All Strategy and both Waterloo and Kitchener proceeding with Inclusionary Zoning, I take a closer look at these policies and council decisions.
This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” grant program and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, the Government of Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.
Check out the archived versions of this program and other episodes on radiowaterloo.ca/news., and other stories commissioned under the Local Journalism Initiative at canada-info.ca.
You can follow us on twitter @RadioWaterloo. If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at email@example.com
UPDATE: The encampment at Victoria and Weber has been dismantled. The residents did not find a suitable arrangement that could house all of them.
This half hour examines the Waterloo Region Council meeting on August 11 where housing advocates commented on the Region’s new men’s shelter plan and presented some of the homeless and unsheltered communities’ biggest challenges. Then we speak with Lesley Crompton, a local anti-homelessness advocate for a more in-depth analysis of the issues raised at the meeting.
At the recent Waterloo Regional Council meeting, Council approved two dorm-style shelters with 24-hour access and supports in an unusually long meeting during which Region staff presented the Emergency Shelter Planning Update followed by short presentations by five housing advocates.
Each speaker advocated for specific areas of need in the unsheltered communities and the shelter system. This included
*stressing the need for more transition housing and more permanent affordable housing; decriminalizing homelessness;
*considering a human rights approach to obtaining zero homelessness;
*lowering specific barriers and reforming shelters generally in partnership with a variety of communities, including the homeless themselves; and
*providing basic amenities, such as water and sanitation for encampments and more Lot42-style housing communities.
Each delegate agreed that more spaces need to be made available and more work needs to be done to get people into permanent housing.
This show will examine the impact of the corona virus on homeless people and drug users. This show will be the first of three shows examining this problem from different perspectives.
Today’s show we will talk to two street activists about the impact the corona virus has on poor people and drug users.
Ivan Stoicovic is a local organizer who has been organizing for more than 30 years in Kitchener, Toronto, and Kingston. His activism ranges from Tent Cities, to stopping the war in Yugoslavia in 1998 and he has been very vocal on the issues of poverty and homelessness working with groups ranging from OCAP, KCAP, Kitchener Tent city Coordinating committee and other anti poverty organizations to anti imperialist groups such as the Kitchener Canada Cuba Friendship organization to the Hugo Chavez Peoples Defense Brigade.
Following Ivan, we will hear from Jonathan Stone who has helped organize the last three tent cities in Kitchener and is also a member of the Revolutionary student Movement.
In both of these interviews the impact of the corona virus on poor people and drug users is discussed from the perspective of organisers impacted people.
My next episode will share some experiences and perspectives from health care workers, and in the third part of this miniseries we will hear from drug users.
Waterloo Region Yes In My Backyard (WR YIMBY) is advocating to increase housing density and in doing so they hope to increase affordable housing supply in Waterloo Region.
WR YIMBY co-founder Martin Asling speaks to us about the principles that drive YIMBY’s advocacy, the affordable housing and housing density challenges specific to Waterloo Region and how the response to the current COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that solutions can be found.