Affordable housing — a no-brainer

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I volunteer with my church of choice, Gower Street United, at our Wednesdsay outreach lunch, to people in need in St. John's. I'm not there every Wednesday but was there today. I hadn't seen some of our guests since early in the summer.

A recent Canadian study looked at the toll of poverty on people's lives and health. The study indicated that, no surprise, people are simply, and profoundly, worn down, and out, by the daily struggle to just survive, in the midst of their poverty. Today, in a few of our guests, I was taken aback by the physical changes I saw. Weight loss, exhausted-looking, empty, sad looks in their eyes. I have seen this before, too often.

The common theme that I hear from people there, relates to the need for good quality affordable, social, non-profit housing. It's really a no-brainer. The need in our city is very real, and very big. Building housing is not rocket science, takes money, yes, but the pay-off to business, the city and our people, will be huge.

Yet, for decades now the city's housing portfolio has not exceeded 500 units. The other 2 mayoral cnadidates, after the last four years of doing nothing in this regard, are now talking about the need for affordable housing, well at least O'keefe is anyway, O'Leary is promoting something called, 'flourishing neighbourhoods'.

What's the best predictor of future behaviour - past behaviour. From O'Keefe, as his campaigns signs boldly say 'expect' leadership, and O'Leary says 'expect more'. If past behaviour predicts future behaviour, expect 'leadership', from O'Keefe, and 'expect more', from O'Leary. But don't look for more affordable housing from either. Ask them how much they did on housing for people, in the city where they are (I mean, were) on council, over the last 4, (8 or 12) years. Expect nothing, get nothing.

With me as your mayor, someone who has had great success in getting government here, and away, to invest largely, in social housing, who knows how it can be done, and under my leadership as mayor, my past will predict my future, and it will be done. The feds and the province are coming to realize that with strong mayoral leadership, and advocacy, those levels of government will have to cough up funds to make affordable housing a reality.

Its really that simple.

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