Tag Archives: Municipal Election 2014

The Election is Over and I Won!

Thank you so much to everyone who supported me in the municipal election. It was a tough fight but we did it! For those of you who simply read my blog,thank you for your patience with the election posts. I hope you learned something about the issues in Waterloo Region. (Yes I know it was two weeks ago, but I needed a bit of a break)

It looks like a good Regional Council with lots of sensible people elected. Over half of Regional Council is new but support for continuing the LRT build is strong. We are going to see the ION in 2017!

Among municipal councillors, we have one more woman elected across the Region. Go here for details, learnhowtorun.com

Coming, a new post in the continuing series of LRT around the world by guest blogger Kevin Thomason.

Homelessness and Housing. The First of My Five Priorities for the Next Term of Regional Council.

My pledge: I will work to get funding to build more homes for the homeless with supports. I will continue to work on the building and repair of affordable housing.

 

I went to my daughter’s apartment at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning to pick her up for her 25 km run at Pinehurst. (The Run for the Toad). I stepped into her apartment vestibule and there were two teen-age girls sleeping on the floor. One of them woke up when I began to dial my daughter’s apartment.

I said,”There are shelters you can go to. They have space.”

The girl said,” It’s full.”

I said, “If you ask there should be a motel room available if everything is full.”

I could see she was considering that.

On our way to Pinehurst, I said to my daughter that maybe this was their first night homeless but she pointed out that they smelled, so had probably been homeless for awhile. My daughter lives near Victoria Park and while she is sympathetic to the homeless, particularly teen-age girls, she doesn’t want them sleeping on the floor in her vestibule. Especially when we are now supposed to have enough shelter beds.

We were also concerned because not all of the men and teen-aged boys hanging around in the park are people those girls should associate with.

Another Out of the Cold site closed this past week. That makes 5 of the 7 volunteer-run church sites closed. Fortunately, the YWCA and Mary’s Place has stepped up with a 50 cot temporary location in a community room.I should point out that Out of the Cold opens on November 1st but there are shelter beds.

What can we do about homelessness?

The Homeless Hub website says the following about homelessness:

Ending homelessness means doing things differently, and not simply managing the problem through emergency services and supports such as shelters and soup kitchens. When people come to depend on emergency services without access to permanent housing and necessary supports, this leads to declining health and well-being, and most certainly an uncertain future.

When I was a librarian at a public library, we always had the homeless sitting in the library and looking at the newspapers. Shelters close in the day, other places only open for meals.

The best way to help the homeless is to get them a home, often with supports.

There are two types of homeless. First those who are temporarily homeless: teenagers kicked out of their home, men without a home due to family problems or job loss, mothers and children homeless due to domestic violence, evicted families. While not easy situations, these people can be helped to find new homes. Those under threat of eviction can go to the rent bank or other programs. This does not mean that we have enough affordable or supportive housing for all who need it, we don’t, but progress is being made.

The next group is those with mental health or addiction problems that are hard to serve. They may not want to go to a shelter for various reasons. I saw two men sleeping in an ATM vestibule as I passed by from attending an event the other night. What do we do?

We need more outreach workers to help the hard to house. We need, as always, when the problem is the least of our people: more supports, more mental health and addictions programs, nore housing with supports.  It is worth the cost.

A few years ago, Malcolm Gladwell wrote “Million Dollar Murray” about a homeless man who used up paramedic, police and  hospital resources at a tremendous rate. The people who run Supportive Housing of Waterloo have proof that the number of emergency calls surrounding some of their permanently housed homeless have dropped. The people now have supportive workers in their building that they can interact with.

Obviously, I am running on continuing the work that the Region of Waterloo is doing to build more affordable housing.  The Region, the Province and the Feds must work together to help house the chronic homeless. We also need to repair the housing built in the 60s,  70s and 80s that is now reaching the end of its life. New housing or rent subsidies for those in need of affordable housing are also needed, although the region is in the forfront compared to other cities in the province.

AS shown by Million Dollar Murray, it actually costs us less in the long run to help people.

Signing up to Run Again!

After much thought and discussion with family and friends over the holidays, I have decided to not delay putting my name in once again for Regional Councillor. We are at a pivotal point in our Region as we move ahead controlling growth and urban sprawl while making the Region inviting for business and technology. With the present population pressures, we cannot stop people from coming to this generally prosperous, family-friendly Region. Therefore we must tackle the problems of sewage, transit and roads, waste disposal, affordable housing and emergency services. At the same time, we must continue giving our citizens the best value for their tax dollar.

I have been a Regional Councillor for the past 13 years. I am presently Chair of the Employment and Income Support Community Advisory Committee and Vice-Chair Community Services Committee. I am a member of the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Council, Active Transportation Advisory Committee, Residual Waste Master Plan Working Group, GRT and Mobility PLUS Business Plan Project Team, City of Waterloo GRT Improvements, and Licensing and Retail Committee.

As Chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority for the last three years, I have overseen a lean organization committed to water quality and quantity in the Grand River Watershed, along with flood control and recreation. I accepted a one third pay cut to help the funds for the GRCA to go where they are needed most.  I represent the GRCA at Source Water Protection and Conservation Ontario.

In order to improve the Grand River and the Region of Waterloo, I lobby at the provincial and federal levels.

From 1990 to 2000, I was a trustee of the Waterloo Region District School Board where I was Chair of Employee Relations and the Special Education Advisory Committee.

I volunteer extensively in the community, presently with the Sunnydale Community and the Cedarbrae Breakfast Club. I have spearheaded the Waterloo Region Women’s Municipal Campaign School for the last three election cycles. The present Mayor of Waterloo and half her council attended the school before they ran.

I have a volunteer pin from the City of Waterloo and a Silver Thanks pin from the Girl Guides. I have been nominated as an Oktoberfest Woman of the Year.

I have a Master of Library and Information Science, Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts.

I recently wound up my internet business, Arachneweb Consulting and Design but continue an interest in technology and information. I was previously the librarian at Renison College for 18 years. I am a published author and presently, in my limited spare time, I am getting a book ready for publication.

I have lived in Waterloo since my childhood and am fortunate to have my children and grandchildren living in Waterloo Region.

As shown by my resume, I work hard for the citizens of Waterloo. I intend to continue to work hard next term.