Cobourg Council recently seemed to catch on that homelessness and affordable housing are a County responsibility. One action that came out of the recent Special Council Meeting on homelessness was that two councillors (Nicole Beatty and Aaron Burchat) would make a presentation to the relevant County Committee and then to the full County Council. This happened at the County Council meeting on July 20. The County does not record their meetings and I did not watch it live, however, you can see the Agenda item (see resources below). Also, 93.3 News reported that in response to a suggestion to use existing buildings, “Deputy Warden Mandy Martin pointed out that the buildings were abandoned for good reason – often because making them habitable would costs thousands, if not millions of dollars.” Council’s reaction to the delegation was to direct “staff to continue engagement with the Town of Cobourg, Cobourg Police Service’s Homelessness Addiction Resource Project (HARP), and member municipalities and staff including By-law enforcement and first responders, in response to concerns.”
At around the same time, the County released its annual report (for 2021) and it’s instructive to review the County’s activity on providing housing.
Warden Bob Crate’s Remarks (extract)
As an indication of the Political visibility of affordable Housing, Warden Crate’s “message” had a significant segment devoted to the subject:
Access to affordable housing continues to be a pressing priority for all levels of government. It is foundational for achieving the Thriving and Inclusive Communities pillar of our strategic plan.
Northumberland County is leveraging all the tools at its disposal to resolutely pursue a variety of affordable housing solutions. Throughout 2021, we worked with Northumberland County Housing Corporation to finalize plans for construction of the Elgin Park community housing development in Cobourg, which will increase the number of subsidized and market rental housing units at this location from 18 to 40. We also announced an innovative partnership with Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, the Northumberland County Housing Corporation, and Habitat for Humanity Northumberland that will result in 62 new affordable housing units at 473 Ontario Street in Cobourg. And we acquired an existing house in Campbellford, to be used for new supportive housing as early as 2023.
Beyond investments in owned infrastructure, we also expanded programs to drive a range of affordability options for residents. 2021 saw the introduction of our Affordable Housing Grant Program – designed to stimulate private and non-profit sector development of affordable housing options for the community. We also increased County-funded rent supplement agreements to support households on the centralized waitlist for Rent-Geared to Income housing, and we continued to support critical home renovations for low-income homeowners through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Northumberland.
Bob does not quote dollar numbers but the rest of the report does. In 2021, the County spent $13.1M on Social Housing. This compares to Cobourg’s Community Improvement Plan with a budget of $125K.
Specific 2021 Projects (summary)
- Elgin Park Redevelopment: Increase subsidized and market rental housing at this location from 18 to 40 units.
- Ontario Street Development: With other agencies jointly develop and manage an affordable housing complex with 62 units in Cobourg.
- Capital Incentives Program: To stimulate development of private and non-profit affordable housing in the county.
And for 2022, one of the Priorities is:
Conduct a homelessness system review to guide planning and service delivery options and implement the Homeless Individual and Families Information System (HIFIS) for coordinated access of real-time data shared between community agencies.
With elections due in a few months, it’s likely that the twin issues of affordable housing and homelessness will be major issues.
The County Councillors are the Mayors of each municipality – so there could also be new County Councillors after the election.
The County does record their meetings but since it does not include sub-titles as required by legislation, the recording is only available upon request.
Previous reports on Cobourg News Blog
- Council meeting on Homelessness – Part 2 – 5 July 2022
- Special Council Meeting on Homelessness – 3 July 2022
- Affordable Housing gets Funding – 24 July 2020 – about Elgin street Project
- Northumberland County Council Weighing options for Homelessness – By 93.3 News – GoNorthumberland.ca
- County Council Meeting Agenda – 20 July 2021
- Northumberland County Annual Financial Report – for 2021
Cobourg Internet Link with County Information
St. Peter’s Court (135 Chapel St.) in Cobourg is an excellent example of a successful affordable social community of attached bachelor units; 62 in all. We need Courts of this type.
The County had a debate and several people in the comments are also debating. There once was a flood. A guy standing in water refused help from a passing canoe because God was going to help him. Later, while on his roof, a motor boat came and he again refused. The water kept rising and he had to stand on his roof. Again he refused help when a helicopter came. After drowning he asked God why God did not help him. The reply was, “I sent a canoe, a power boat and a helicopter what more did you want me to do?”
People need to help themselves and use resources available to them. But, due to mental illness and/or drug addiction some people are not able to help themselves. Do we have the right to force help on them? Residential schools were likely set up with some good intentions to help natives. It certainly did not turn out that way. And if you think things are better now you should really look into how many native children are in foster care. Homelessness and affordable housing are big problems that we will not likely solve anytime soon. You can make a difference if you actually do something like volunteering or renting a room in your house.
Here is a link to a related document. If the link works and you check it out you will see Cobourg in the title but the county logo throughout. Maybe this is because it is the counties responsibility. It looks like a consult prepare this report. It does define affordable.
The author of the report, SHS Consulting (https://www.shs-inc.ca/), is Toronto based with offices at 77 Bloor W. Not exactly a low rent location. Spending on actually solving problems rather than paying high priced consultants to prepare “strategies” might be a better strategy.
Elected Councils are, for the most part, made up of our peers. They are seldom expert in anything. We expect them to be good listeners and exercise good judgment. They need good advice from Staff and often from those who have expertize. I see no other source for the latter than from paid consultants who, in their turn, often stage public meetings.
We should have no trouble paying for the latter.
What I believe is seriously missing, and I hope you and others would agree, is the absence of clearly stated goals and a timetable with deadlines. (All too often important issues drag on and on.)
An example … “Eliminate Homelessness in Northumberland County within two years!”
The definition of Homelessness or the Homeless would focus on individual behaviour, not affordability which is a much more general subject which is essentially determined by supply.
Of course, Keith, every endeavour needs clearly stated goals and a timetable with deadlines. However, you are omitting a variety of critical issues. The goal must be widely supported, it must be affordable, it must be achievable within the specified timeframe and must be the responsibility of the level of government attempting a solution. None of these are satisfied regarding our Council addressing homelessness in Cobourg.
Yes, supply has an impact on housing affordability but the real issue is the cost of housing. You completely ignore the cost of construction materials, labour for construction, development charges, inspection fees, legal fees, zoning hearings and all of the other costs that go into constructing new housing. Even after construction is completed there are ongoing costs for electricity, natural gas, property maintenance, sewerage treatment, storm water management, mortgage interest, property taxes and… Regardless of your wishful thinking the total cost is unaffordable for many.
You say that we can afford consultants and that may be true. But why should we? Cobourg has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on various “master plans”, surveys and reports which have been mostly ignored. Can you honestly say that your life if better because of these wasted expenditures?
Please reready my post. Your detailed critique concerning the cost of construction simply describes the present and is irrelevant to the issue of Homelessness which I identified as an individual problem as opposed to a market or industry problem.
To digress and answer your off-the-point comments.
We still stick-build housing like we did 70 years ago at a time when we could cut construction costs by 1/4 if we applied the building technology that already exists. They’re doing it elsewhere, in several cases in Toronto lead by city government. Lots of examples in the UK. Why not here?
As usual this debate is getting way off track. This will be my last post
A significant (25-50%?) of the cost of housing is the land. You previously rejected the idea of locating affordable housing in areas with lower land costs. Lower costs for construction labour do nothing to reduce the many other costs of building additional housing. In any case it is not Cobourg’s responsibility to do anything about the homeless problem. Also, construction costs have nothing to do with the ongoing living and maintenance costs. Nor do construction costs have anything to do with the expenditures for useless reports by consultants which you erroneously think that we should continue since “we can afford” the waste.
In a reply to Gerinator, Bryan explained some aspects of affordable housing. Something nobody has mentioned is RGI, Rent Geared to Income. This usually applies to government owned community housing. It can apply to other types of housing like cooperatives and not for profit corporate owned units. If a person or family qualifies for RGI their rent will be a percent of their income. To greatly simplify things rent would be $300 a month if income is $1000 and 30% of it is for housing costs. I think the 30% is accurate. Obviously a landlord would not want to accept only $300 a month. The county pays the difference. I am not sure how the calculation works to know if the landlord (community housing, qualifying cooperative or non-profit corporation) would get $700 from the county or some other amount. There is a big advantage to people if they qualify for RGI which explains why some people are willing to be on a waiting list. The time on the waiting list can be long and depends on your situation (children, health issues, etc.) RGI is not meant to help able bodied, working age people. It is for people that are not able to work or not earn enough to pay market rents. So often I hear stories of employers hiring people who only work for a couple of days and come in late or stop working altogether. If you are able to work and there are jobs available it is your responsibility to take those jobs. If you do not like the job then talk to your employer about it and/or look for a better one. Work while you can to help yourself. There are only so many resources available and if you are unfairly using them then somebody who really… Read more »
Good points on RGI.
The 14 “affordable” Balder units are subsidized by the Town (development fee concessions, CIP) and CMHC (lower mortgage interest).
As I noted in my prior comment, the rent for these units will be 80% (or less) of the average Cobourg market rent. Based on the Oct 2021 CMHC Cobourg average rent (2BR) of $1,345, the rent would be $1,075 or less. The Balder units may be available by year end 2022 and the rent will be based on the CMHC average Cobourg rent at that date.
I fully expect that the “affordable” rent for a 2BR Balder unit will be somewhat more than $1,075.
Why are Projects specifically centralized only in Cobourg and not throughout other established areas in the County? Long before amalgamations in Ontario by Mike Harris, I recall the same mentality in Toronto, perhaps 40 years ago, when the “housing” emphasis was only in the borough of “North York” and the problems that sprang from that decision…
Easy to answer.
From 1837, when Cobourg was founded as a Police Village, our Town has been the urban centre serving a large rural area. We have benefited as such throughout our history, both individually and as a community.
At first that area was the District of Newcastle whose border stretched from Oshawa to Trenton and north to the French River.
Cobourg, with 20% of the County’s population, is concentrated in a relatively small area. We rub shoulders with eachother on a daily basis. (Ask any of our Councillors.) Communicate with eachother as members of one community. Out of that concentration many interest groups form, express themselves, work toward positive change.
Wealth in terms of social and business opportunities, property values, various taxes, is concentrated here and provides Cobourg and its’ Government with the ability to work toward ensuring that “all” experience a basic standard-of-living. Commities that advise Council encourage public participation.
In many cases and following our traditional role and the benefits it has brought us, the effort to create positive change includes serving many who live outside our borders. Solving the problems associated with Homelessness, Rough Living, is one example.
By all means we should work with the County! But it makes sense that the drive, the determination, some of the required assets, should originate here.
There are at least six other distinct and prosperous locations within the County other than Cobourg in which shoulders can be rubbed.
Please name the six, and answer the following.
Separately, do they have the economic, social and organizational strength that Cobourg has, (because of its’ concentrated population), to have a meaningful effect on increasing the supply Affordable Housing and reducing Homelessness?
Within the County other than Cobourg there are:
and the number six was cited to not insult another one- in-the-making. “Yes” to the requested question.
How can you say that the first four on your list are in anyway equal to Cobourg and the assets I listed?
Port Hope is correct. It actively supports the Greenwood Coalition and the wonderful work the latter does.
As an example of separate governments getting out from under their shell, at one time Cobourg and Port Hope discussed having one police force. Perhaps they could work together to address homelessness.
And what good has come from the financial assets that have even been given to Cobourg to date for this issue? Port Hope is allowing tents for homelessness… (todaysnorthumberland.ca on July 27, 2022)
I guess we know where they are setting up camp…
You can’t determine what would have happened if Cobourg had not spent the assets it did. You cannot prove a negative. It’s possible if those assets had not been spent that the Homeless problem would be much worse. We’ll never know.
Agreed, Keith, we cannot know the results had we not spent. However, it is obvious that Cobourg’s homeless problem has gotten far worse even with the spending. Either we didn’t spend enough or it was spent in the wrong ways. My guess it that spending on consultants and warming centres is apt to make the problem worse rather than better.
Other locations within the County are not to be underestimated or denigrated. County Council has just given Cobourg “the cold shoulder” as reported on Northumberland news.com
Keith, land prices have a huge impact on the total cost of housing. Land is far cheaper outside of Cobourg and Port Hope. Why attempt to provide low cost housing where land prices are high?
Because that’s where the jobs are that people need for whatever reason.
Keith, the usual phrase covering that is: “drive until you can qualify for a mortgage”. If you can’t afford to live in the most desirable place then live somewhere else. Everyone must make sacrifices.
“… drive until you can qualify for a mortgage!”
What if you can’t afford to own a car? or have kids who need schooling? or that distance takes your partner further away from her work? or means you have a harder and more costly time picking up essentials such as food?
Your simplistic statement is one of those that sounds like a solution, but fails when considering reality.
So other towns don’t have schools, or stores selling “essentials” and food. Perhaps the partner will have a longer commute. That’s the breaks. Nowhere does it say that life is fair and without its challenges.
Your reply to Ken totally fails to consider reality. You do what is needed, including move to another town.
The trouble is that we seldom try to understand situations faced by others by putting ourselves in their situation and trying to understand what it would feel like; the challenges we would face; the instability that would be forced on us.
I had a close encounter with homelessness when I open a design-build business in Vermont. I seriously underestimated the cost of the first two homes I had contracted to build. In addition, and unknown to me, two of my carpenters were constantly high on pot. Some framing mistakes had to be rebuilt. One client had lied about having a full mortgage. I came close to going bankrupt. I came close to having a major depression.
Neighbours helped by looking after the kids while my wife went to work. We had to sell the car, cancel a vacation which involved losing deposits, and we were on food-stamps for six months. It was humiliating at the grocery checkout. Humiliating to explain to others why we could not fulfill certain financial obligations. People found out and several wouldn’t talk to us anymore.
Through all of this I was lucky to have survived, kept my family together. To top it all off, and given todays’ housing costs and the lack of supply, It’s a wonder that some who find themselves in such seemingly impossible circumstances, and worse, haven’t literally throwen themselves under the bus.
When you and others simply say “suck it up!”, fortunately for you and those others, you don’t really know what you’re talking about.
You wrote “When you and others simply say “suck it up!”, fortunately for you and those others, you don’t really know what you’re talking about.”
You have no idea what I and others have experienced and know. Instead you make wild broad brush assumptions which tend to be flat out wrong.
In my experience, lots of people have faced serious challenges, just as you did. And they came through them, just as you did.
How? By sucking it up. By getting on with things as best as they could, with perseverance, skill, luck and, if they were fortunate, the help of others, especially family.
Keith – It takes a awful lot to offend me, but you have succeeded with this comment, sir. As Bryan points out, you have no idea what I and others have experienced and know.
I would wager that most of the people who have made themselves into anything successful have lived through incredibly difficult times. “Sucking it up” is the thing that kept them going. What kind of society would we have if everyone let shame and embarrassment be the catalyst for “literally throwen [sic] themselves under the bus”?
There is pride in the ability to support oneself. It’s not always easy but I truly believe it can always be done.
Your situation doesn’t sound great. I’m sure it was awful as you were going through it. But, you sucked it up and got through it. You knew you had to feed your children. You took those food stamps in and you used them. You figured it out. I’m sure there are many lessons you learned during that time, including who you could and could not count on. People won’t talk to you anymore because you don’t have enough money? Good riddance.
I’m not sure there is a better teacher in life than being poor. The lessons are hard-learned and require sacrifice and humility. I’ve learned a lot of lessons. I have earned the success that I’ve had, just like you have.
Mark Twain wrote ‘The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
No one is saying you shouldn’t help your neighbour. I’ve helped a lot of neighbours. But, don’t forget to ask what your neighbour is doing to help themselves.
My point, which seems to have escaped you and others, is that there are many when faced with significant disruptions in their personal life simply can’t “suck it up” and need help. What is so hard about understanding that simple fact?
Why can’t they?
The help is out there. The work is out there.
But, it’s hard. Excuses, like ‘can’t’ are easy. Blame is easy.
Like I said in my last post, I agree with Mark Twain – the world doesn’t owe you anything.
I’ll re-post the last paragraph from my last post:
Mr Oliver wrote, ‘When you and others simply say “suck it up!”, fortunately for you and those others, you don’t really know what you’re talking about.’
That’s quite the arrogant presumption. I know a number of people who have experienced personal difficulties similar to yours, in some cases, more severe difficulties. Most came thru it bruised and battered and learning a life lesson. Refusal to suck it up and move on results in alcoholism, addiction and other self-destructive activities.
Mr Oliver said, “you and those others”
Wow! Talk about otherization! Sounds like Trudeau talking about truckers, whining that they take up space, etc. The condescending arrogance is clear.
The truckers were staging an insurestion with their stated goal of forcing change on a duly elected government.
The simple fact is that when it comes to severe challenges and instability in one’s life, some can deal with them while others can’t. We’re all very different in many respects.
To say “just suck it up and get on with it!” represents a true missunderstanding of those involved.
I repeat … People who say this just don’t get it!
Mr Oliver said, “The truckers were staging an insurestion with their stated goal of forcing change on a duly elected government.”
Everything you said in that sentence is pure fabrication, fakery. Who stated the goal? How was the goal worded? Any source at all?
Duly elected? The Conservatives received far more in the popular vote in the last election than did the Libs. In each of three consecutive elections the number of votes for the Libs declined in each and every election. He barely has 33% support now and needs the complicitous crutch of the NDP to run a contrived government.
You do not know what you are talking about when you assert the truckers were staging an “insurestion” (sic)
The Oxford Dictionary for Military Use defines insurrection as “a violent uprising against an authority or government”. Where was the violence? Mr Oliver. Where? You should be ashamed to spread such disinformation and misinformation against so many of your fellow citizens.
Pure fabrication? fakery? no violence? Trudeau not the legitimate Prime Minister of Canada?
(Personally I support the ranked ballot voting system over our first-passed-the-post system, but the latter is what we have and must abide by,)
Your statements represent a typical Trumpian effort to divert what should be a rational conversation into a swamp of irresponsible rehoric.
Google and read Mark Carney’s Globe+Mail op-ed piece of February 7, 2022, entitled “It’s time to end the sedition in Ottawa … “.
Carney is the former head of the Bank of Canada, then the Bank of England, and now is the United Nations Special Envoy on the Climate and Finance..
Worth a read as is his recent book “Value(s)”. And no that’s not a spelling mistake. I’ll happily buy you and Ken Strauss a copy.
Keith, why does an op-ed by Mr. Carney prove anything?
It doesn’t Ken but if you read it then you can either agree or disagree but I highly doubt if you will, it doesn’t support your confirmation bias.
You are correct Ben; it doesn’t support Ken’s confirmation bias; it supports Mr Oliver’s confirmation bias.
To follow your logic, why does what you say prove anything?
This is precisely the kind of questioning and irresponsible rehoric that has got so many Americans at each others throats. It creates uncertainty in everything.
A basic truth is that nothing can be proved … Everything is known through cause and effect, experience or pure belief
Read Carney’s piece and tell us what you think!
Keith, I did read the article and Wally presented a good summary. The uncertainty in “everything” is largely a result of the media’s selective reporting of events coupled with political parties of all stripes attempting to sow discord and their flexibility with the truth.
Your assertion that “Everything is known through cause and effect” is interesting. If cause is often attributed to questionable science and effect is selectively reported, what is actually known?
I appreciate your generous offer but I’ve ordered Carney’s book and Amazon promises that it will be here tomorrow.
Enough “irresponsible rehoric [sic]” from me for now.
So, you believe the uncertinty in everyhing is caused by the media and its selective resportng, and politiciams of all parties with their flexlity with the truth? How convenient!
What about the effect that ordinary citizens have when they, without pause, continually disparage those we elect and the good work they do, instead of disagreeing and offering an alternative?
Karl Marx maintained that history is made by the common man and that others, the high and the mighty, just implement it.
So, Keith, you feel that we shouldn’t disparage those we elected even if they fail to do the promised good work, prove incompetent, doze at important meetings or otherwise fail to serve the electorate? I disagree.
Mr Oliver asked, “What about the effect that ordinary citizens have when they, without pause, continually disparage those we elect and the good work they do,“
What about the effect on truckers and their hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens who are continually disparaged and treated unjustly by a fringe minority government?
Mr Oliver asserts, “Karl Marx maintained that history is made by the common man and that others, the high and the mighty, just implement it.”
In the case of the Freedom Convoy, an organic manifestation of common citizens and their free speech was brutally attacked by the high and mighty, by their divisive rhetoric (misogynists, racists, fascists, etc) and excessive overreach of the Emergencies Act.
You would be better off to exchange your Karl Marx for the inspiration of Thomas Sowell.
So the Freedom Convoy “was brutally attacked by the high and the mighty”.
This is an example of the irresponsible and destructive rehoric I referred to in an exchange with Ken earlier. It’s at the heart of the present conditions that are literally tearing America apart.
This statement is an absolute distortion of what actually took place over that three week period. The Emergency Act was in effect for less than a week. I was used to re-establish law and order and several surveys established that the vast majority of Canadians approved.
In addition once you are part of a group, business or a marriage, there is no such thing as absolute freedom! There are limits, standards, regulations, consensus.
Try making a drawing on the plaza in front of Victoria Hall using human feces and see how far your belief in absolute freedom gets you, even as an artist..
As to Thomas Sowell, well worth reading, known for challenging the status quo. He’s in disagreement with such an intervention in the free market economy as the Federal Reserve and a minimum wage. (Which he proposed should be zero). He is a Libertarian with conditions. In my limited reading he was quick to challenge but short on alternatives.
His belief in an unregulated free market would lead to an enormous concentration of power and wealth as was experienced in the early 1900s with the Robber Barons, the likes of the Astors and Carneigies, Standard Oil, the Ford Company, now Amazon, and possibly Walmart and Apple. The present increasing disparity in wealth between the rich and others, and the ongoing decline of the middle class.
As I said Sowell is worth reading but I remain very sceptical of his ideas.
Mr Oliver said, “Try making a drawing on the plaza in front of Victoria Hall using human feces and see how far your belief in absolute freedom gets you, even as an artist.”
Mr Oliver you are abysmally ignorant about anything concerning art and freedom and creativity.
The high and mighty, the elites are brutal with their mandates. The Dutch farmers know about it just as thoroughly as the Freedom Convoy folks and their supporters, and the people of Sri Lanka.
The working class are onto something and the governing elite know it, which is why they want to suborn it. The Cdn leadership demonized the working class, calling them misogynists, racists, homophobes, Islamophobes, white supremacists, white blood-line, transphobes, etc etc ad nauseum. The working class is sick of that divisive talk coming from our elite and they are sick of sycophant propagandists lying about them. But then again, when you asserted that I was a wino, you were doing the same kind of name-calling as Trudeau.
You can stand with the elite; I will stand with the working class against vindictive mandates from the state.
My Oliver continues to make up strawman arguments, “see how far your belief in absolute freedom gets you, even as an artist.”
I have told you numerous times that no one anywhere has ever advocated “absolute freedom.” That includes me. Why can’t you understand that? Why continue to assert such a stupidity?
Mr Oliver asserted, “Your statements represent a typical Trumpian effort to divert what should be a rational conversation into a swamp of irresponsible rehoric.(sic)“
Blither blather bro. That is nothing more than political post-nutritive disposal substance derived from unhealthy bovines.
I did read the article you suggested and it is stuffed to the gills with pollutable political language and egregious inaccuracies. Especially his slander that foreign forces supplied the money right from the start. There is plenty of evidence presented to the commitee inquiring that put the lie to that contention. It was overwhelmingly funded by Canadians, especially small working stiff Canadians with their modest, but accumulative funding.
The Freedom Convoy received more funds, and received it faster, than did the Liberal party which had two months to raise it. And the Freedom Convoy received their funds organically, from thousands of small Canadians, otherwise know as grassroots people. All those Canadians demonstrated a joyous zeal that no political party can generate.
That Globe&Mail article you recommended is a prime example of why a majority of Canadians no longer trust the integrity of the legacy media. And of course they receive lots of $$$$$$$$$$$ from the Liberal govt.
Mr Oliver claims, “Your statements represent a typical Trumpian effort to divert what should be a rational conversation into a swamp of irresponsible rehoric.(sic)”
The Prime Minister of Canada called all the truckers and their supporters, racists, Islamophones, fascists, homoiphobes, misogynists, white nationalists, fringe minority that take up space, with his sidekick Jagmeet chiming in about white blood-line extremists.
THAT is the real swamp of irresponsible and divisive rhetoric.
Where on earth did you hear our Prime Minister refer to the Freedom Convoy truckers this way? In fact he was overly cautious when referring to them not wanting to increase the chance of even more disorder/violence.
Really!? You are pleading ignorance? Really!?
Justin Trudeau posted on his Twitter account Feb 1, 2022, “Today in the House, Members of Parliament unanimously condemned the antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, homophobia, and transphobia that we’ve seen on display in Ottawa over the past number of days.”
(Trudeau pulled that off because the Conservatives were not in the House that day because they were deselecting their leader.)
From the Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2022. “The class dimension becomes evident from the demeaning and charged language used by politicians and journalists in referring to the protesters. Despised by members of the Canadian elite who are often blissfully unaware of their own privilege, the protesters were considered blue-collar outcasts from the hinterland, presumptively racist and small-minded.”
Conrad Black, Feb 11, 2022, “The official response to the truckers protesting COVID restrictions is one of the most disgraceful political episodes in the history of Canada as an autonomous country. The prime minister’s statement that the truckers were probably homophobic, trans-phobic, misogynists and racists was an outrage that was unsupported by evidence.”
Jagmeet Singh posted on Twitter on January 29, 2022, “today Conservative MPs have endorsed a convoy led by those that claim the superiority of the white bloodline and equate Islam to a disease.”
The convoy never made such a claim. It was just an odious smear, like you smearing me as a wino on this blog.
“The convoy never made such a claim”
No but plenty in the convoy did!
No where near “plenty”. That is a weasel word because of the inability to quantify the smear.
A trucker Sikh put the lie to that comment Ben: https://youtu.be/Sls_UQVwuHw
“I don’t see a racist guy here. Everyone is kissing, hugging and that’s it. People are giving money and gifts.”
You should be ashamed to sneer at such working class people. I saw “plenty” of Sikhs, First Nations people, Quebecers, other pocs. A Jew was part of the organizers and another leader was Metis. The Freedom Convoy was diversity on display.
Canada does not need any more of that divisive crap coming from the privileged and elite and their sycophant supporters. The working class need allies, not slanderers. The working class have risen up in Netherlands, in Sri Lanka, and other places. More to come and soon.
I will stand with the workers, you can stand with the oppressors.
Ben asserts that “plenty in the convoy” claimed “superiority of the white bloodline and equate Islam to a disease.”
What an incredibly untrue and divisive smear! What do you hope to gain from this denigrating gossip against working class Canadians? Why do you hate working class truckers to such an extent as to condescendingly smear them with schoolyard name-calling? What’s with the hatred, Ben?
Just how twisted is your mind?
Ben asserts that “plenty in the convoy” claimed “superiority of the white bloodline and equate Islam to a disease.”
Where do you get off on equating this statement to HATRED?
It must be the lens that you look through to see the world – Sad, Very Sad!
The Cobourg/Port Hope towns are the hubs of employment for most County residents, those already established and those trying to get started. It makes sense that people come to these two centres for work. That’s where the work is! Jeez.
Deborah, it is only sensible if one can afford to live in Cobourg or PH. Other places are more affordable.
Rural people have cars, otherwise they’re stranded. Lots of them do a daily commute to wherever they have employment, similar to those who live in our urban areas and commute to Toronto and other larger centres. Hardly unusual. In fact, they need vehicles to buy groceries, take their kids to sport teams and music lessons.
The issue of housing is confused as there are a number of separate causes all getting lumped under the caption “Homeless”. There are the addicts, the mentally ill, mentally disabled, people who have actually had their working incomes cut off and the group that just feel they have a constitutional right to free housing. At one time the Ontario Hospital system provided shelter and safety to a portion of these groups but because it was abused it was totally shut down with no real other mechanism to care for these individuals. Our school system now actually acts as a day care for many until they finally reach an age where even high schools cannot care for them. Schools for these individuals stayed open for them through out Covid lockdowns because parents couldn’t or would not take them full time. But, what happens when that eventually ends? I think we see some of it on our streets. Some addicts made the choice, others are victims of our medical system where doctors are gods. Check out the College of Physicians reports on the number of doctors who have been quietly sanctioned over narcotic prescriptions. But, you do not see any before the criminal courts. But in any case a will to quit is essential. At one time local jails provided a safe and secure method of detox in the local community. Now we have super jails full of drugs and gangs. People in unfortunate circumstances who need a helping hand to retool themselves certainly the support and immediate access to housing that is designed to foster.self independence. Unfortunately disability pensions are easier to get now than a drivers license. But, I know many people with disabilities who who also see themselves with abilities and thrive in the community. To the new generation… Read more »
I worked in the North’d Legal Centre for 17 years and a large part of it was representing people denied either (or both) the ODSP (Ont. Disability Support Program) or CPP Disability, which required enough CPP contributions as well as meeting the criteria to qualify.
It was certainly not easy to qualify, and applicants without our representation usually lost their appeals. To suggest these are easy to get reveals an utter ignorance of the criteria to qualify.
I’ve still not read a measurable definition of what ‘affordable housing’ is. By measurable I mean either a monthly rent value or a monthly property tax value. Further there is no definition of the standard built for these units: # of bedrooms, # of bathrooms, size of layout. Finally I’ve not heard what the ‘County’ will do to protect these $ values from being jacked up beyond ‘affordable’.
Housing is a complex topic, made even more difficult to follow due to the numerous (and frequently undefined) terms used:
Several CMHC documents refer the “housing continuum” using terms as:
CMHC defines “affordable” housing as 30% of household pre-tax income. A person earning $40K could “afford” rent of $1,000 per month. A “household” earning $100K could afford $2,500 per month.
CMHC’s Oct 2021 Cobourg’s “market rent” report lists:
The reported amounts are misleading because they refer to occupied rental, not vacant rental which is substantially higher. Cobourg has about 1100 rental units, many under rent control and housing long term residents.
$2,000 vacant rental is closer to the norm in Cobourg for someone looking for a 2BR apartment.
The County is responsible for “social” housing. It owns some properties which it rents at low rates geared to income. It also subsidized rents (geared to income) for some non-owned units.
CMHC has “affordable” housing incentives for the development of rental housing. The Balder development in Cobourg is an example. Balder agreed to provide 14 “affordable” units in this 70 unit development. “Affordable” in this context means the rent will be less than 80% of the Cobourg average “market” rent
Based on the Oct 2021 CMHC report, the rent would be $1,075 or less.
Get this wright
No Housing and Homeless is a bigger Complex Problem
Boulder Is not True Affordable its Subsidized .
by WHO ? and Who Qualifies ? Incomes ?
I agree with Wally……..What?!
I think Sandpiper’s reply to Bryan’s comment needs some editing. If Sandpiper wants readers to get it wright (right?) then readers need some more information. Stating Boulder (Balder Corporation http://www.baldercorp.com/featured-projects/cobourg-apartments) is not True Affordable without defining True Affordable is not very useful. Some units are Subsidized because the rents will be reduced as explained by Bryan. Who (not WHO, World Health Organization) is the CMHC, indirectly taxpayers, that provides funding arrangements in exchange for the subsidized units. The builder gets less rental income. Who qualifies and is it based on income are good questions. I have heard it will not be long before units will be leased.
Affordable is just that , Something that the average local working or retired citizen can afford to rent or Buy and still pay the utility and eat properly . That of course is assuming they don’t have a marvelous Govt employee pension of some sort.
In the past there have been ways and solutions to this issue and it starts with willingness to resolve the problem , open minds , and change to our local political policy & thoughts , Starting with affordable lands that are not always in the correct locations under our local planning guide lines .
ie the 2 mobile home parks that where built back in the 70s on the north side of the 401 between Port Hope and Cobourg .
Of course Cobourg & the County wanted to show case their new industry of the time Pyramid Homes once located in Northam Industrial park .
Yes Affordable housing can be achieved !
Sandpiper, thank you for responding. However, you need not really define what affordable is. A retired person might have significant savings to use in addition to any pension or other income. Some seniors do not. I am not sure what the average local worker earns but the minimum is not far from $30,000 with a 40 hour work week. After taxes, utilities and food there might be enough for a “market rent” 1-bedroom apartment at $1,082 (see Bryan’s comment). But finding one is next to impossible. Using 30% of pre-tax income as a definition of affordable, $750 is the most a minimum wage earner could pay. Some people have to pay much more than 30% of their income on rent. These people will not be able to save to buy a house or for retirement. I likely do not meet the 30% rule but I think of my home as affordable for me. I agree, affordable housing can be achieved, for most. There will be some people that will not be able to afford housing no matter what we do.
It could be affordable rental as well if building concepts of an affordable design were permitted and in areas where the base cost of land was cheaper to start with . We just need Councilors to agree there is a problem and solve it but sadly many use this topic to Campaign on yet never solve the problem only to dig up more road blocks
There is also the possibility of sharing accommodations. Using Kevin’s numbers, two minimum wage workers sharing an apartment could pay $1500 per month and still be under the 30% of pre-tax wages threshold.
Thanks Bryan, I’ve got now some perspective on how complex this is. My cynical self says there is a lot of room here for mis-management given the scope is so complex.
Wonder why our Cobourg Mayor is even at the County meetings. Weak and no business sense. Probably most likely will get in for another four years …. Yikes. Agree if current Golden Plough is good enough now and has been for years then why demolish this building. We have many folks living without AC now and surviving. These folks do not think out of the box but like current technology …. Just throw it out and buy the latest. As Cobourg taxpayers we have contributed to the county budget. Folks like Mayors Mandy and Crate do not have the same issues ….. why don’t they come up with solutions in their jurisdictions. How about our MPP who shouted loud and clear once elected that he will work on affordable housing …. !!!! Remember Port Hope and Wesleyville ….. once in council good luck for an number of years…. We have great talent in the area that could do better. …… maybe it is time to get rid of these small town councils and set up one or two in the county. We would sabe on policing, firefighting and reduce staff ….
The problem at hand of Homelessness is now not several studies and a dozen more meetings
down the road this has been an issue for years .. The Old Arena is usable Now with only a few modest changes and some work from those dogooder organizations . Then At least there is a roof , 4 walls wash rooms and a rough kitchen Figure it out fokes This sure beats a cardboard box or a window well to sleep in. Put a roof over their heads . and Nichole Beaty
to supervise .
As far as these Ont. st units they are not Affordable — Subsidized is completely different to affordable and continues to be a burden on the backs of the Tax payers for decades
Not only that the residential mix does not always work and will affect the landlords ability to attract true market rents on the balance of the units .
No it isn’t, it has issues with mold, I’m sure further investigation with find rodents and even more investigation would find issues with plumbing and electrical. Then there is the fact that it is an arena a building which is meant to be cold in the winter and old barns like that were very cold. Who will provide the millions required to make sure it is liveable? Just because it has a roof and walls doesn’t mean it is suitable for people to live in. You can’t just put people in there and say there you go and not ensure it is safe!
Concerned, you just described most houses that people grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Most houses had plumbing or electrical “nuances”,most basements were inhabitable with the odd rodent in them, all the windows in winter were frosted over, put an extra blanket on the bed and all was good.
Leweez: “windows in winter were frosted over, put an extra blanket on the bed and all was good.“
My bedroom was like that in the 40s, 50s, 60s, then there came a thermostat. It was good. Actually, it was better, way better. It was gooooood! But I do long to fingernail- etch the frosting on a window.
Just because they did it doesn’t mean it should have been allowed that’s why we have building codes
No matter how you defend the No Use of that Arena Its still better than Mouldy old
leaves , Rain , snow etc At present they have nothing It would take Nothing to
Add a couple of Industrial Heater at least its not Freezing and wet
Face it we don’t want this in our Town or out of town for that matter
its still better than what they have , These people will not qualify for subsidized housing on Ontario st or the new Boulder subsidized units on University west .
How would you propose to address the overcrowding. If this arena was used for housing then I bet there will be 3 or 4 times the amount of homeless in Cobourg. When the police warming centre opened I was told folks were dropped off from Port Hope,Peterbrough amd Durham area.
As I see it, neither Mayor’s, Councillors or Wardens tend to ignore these common sense suggestions.
Homelessness and affordable housing should NEVER be the responsibility of the government. If an individual wants shelter, it is his responsibility to get it. Since when is government the “mother” of all of society? There are an infinite number of reasons why an individual is homeless or cant afford a home, but that is NOT the responsibility of society or the collective to give everyone a free or subsidized home. Whats next? a free car and cell phone? What is lacking is actual rational discourse on what causes increased housing costs. The fundamental problem IS the government itself – both at the local and federal levels. Everytime the federal government expands the money supply, it inflates the economy, driving up housing prices. At the local level, the town has now spent close to $15 million for what? To pay for their endless committees and their salaries? The responsible tax-payer has to bear for all this un-necessary spending. Again I re-emphasis, govenment has no business to house people, it is the responsibility of the individual.
Hmm I just hope that you never fall on hard times, but seeing as you probably depended on government to build up your position in society, i.e. you have used the education system, you use roads and infrastructure and obviously health care you cannot say that you don’t want government in your life. You relied on it to achieve your position in life.
So go on and think you are a free individual you are not – government has aided you in every step of your progress and you want to deny the others government help – sad!
“So go on and think you are a free individual you are not…” Govt employees threw me out of school and denied me an education because my hair hung over my ears. Govt employees illegally intercepted my private first class mail, illegally withheld my mail, illegally published the contents of my mail. Govt employees fabricated a letter signed by the Solicitor-General and sent to my MP assuring him that it was not the practice of the RCMP to intercept the mail. This resulted in a charge of ‘contempt of Parliament’. The RCMP Security Service then approached my landlord and employer informing them that they suspected I was subversive, so I lost my job and was evicted. Lucky lucky lucky me that I have a family that loves me and gave me free shelter for a few months until I saved up to return to the city to start again. That’s just a mild bit of what govt can do to an individual. And this is in a ‘democracy’. Did they educate me? Yes, they taught me about injustice and oppression and especially conformity and obedience. They contributed absolutely nothing to foster creativity, they did the opposite. Now there is pronoun conformity and enforcement and not just censorshit. but compelled speech. Govt is a double edged sword. When I arranged to get my Hungarian wife out of Socialist Hungary, her bank account was frozen because the state educated her to serve the state, not abandon it. This bank account freezing was a good control mechanism to hurt any dissident behavior in the glorious Socialist Peoples Democratic Republic. Sound familiar? To be a free individual in today’s society requires heroic effort, tenacity, creativity, and engagement. However, I live in ‘society’ which is my ‘extended family’, so I care about it. I want… Read more »
I am not saying that government is all good, as you point out it has its faults. But to say that “homelessness is the fault of the individual and they should deal with it, I am not going to help” is not the way most people think and those who do just reveal more of themselves than perhaps they want to.
Ben commented, But to say that “homelessness is the fault of the individual and they should deal with it, I am not going to help”
Who are you quoting here, because it certainly ain’t me? Or are you just posting fake quotes?
it was definitely not you Wally because you admit that you care about the issue as opposed to the poster who basically told the homeless “tough sh*t it’s your fault!”
That quote was mine and aimed at the people who just want sit on their pile of money and pull up the ladder.
But Ben – the things you are listing here, everyone does have access to. Anyone and everyone is allowed to rely on roads, education, a level of health care to achieve their position in life. Concerned Cobourg Resident didn’t state that government should be uninvolved with everything.
I have fallen on hard times more than once. I took on a second or third job. It was not pleasant. I felt like I had to do what I had to do. I believed it was my responsibility. I haven’t always been able to live where I wanted to live.
I struggle to understand where personal responsibility and sometimes even self-awareness come in these days. There are many programs in place that aim to help. There are rules sometimes, and requirements but again, you have to do what you have to do sometimes. There are times when life is just going to suck for a while. The silver lining is that if you pay attention, there are lessons to be learned about how you got there and steps to take so you don’t get there again.
I support the need to ensure folks understand that they have responsibilities/accountabilities to themselves and their community. However I also support the notion of a safety net, its the society I, and most Canadians, grew up with and certainly cherish. I won’t quarrel necessarily with your economics but I do feel that good governance (a governmental responsibility) also includes taking care of our less fortunate (however they came by that misfortune).
Concerned Cobourg Resident asserts, “Since when is government the “mother” of all of society?”
When it pays for law enforcement.
Concerned Cobourg Resident
You have absolutely no understanding of the circumstances and personal issues involved in experiencing the type of homelessness being discussed here.
I hope you never find yourself afflicted by any of them. They are complex, multifaceted and unique to every individual.
The lack of housing is an issue for many that are not “homeless”. They include families earning up to $100,000 per annum. Article in Globe+Mail, July 8, describes how it now takes 17 years for a $75,000 earner to save up a downpayment.
The issues facing the “homeless”, those who are the subject of this blog, are many more than a simple lack of housing. They include being “jobless”, feeling “helpless”, being “rootless”, feeling “disconnected”, an absence of stability, a sense of being “future less” and possibly, but not always, behind addicted.
Humans are social creatures whose normal state is to be connected in meaningful ways with others. When that starts to breakdown, so does the individual. What’s needed is a handup more than anything. Some consider “homelessness” a health issue whose solution involves government programs as well as the Involvement of caring individuals
“Bowling Alone” by Robert Putnam, is an incredible account of the growing state of loneliness in America. First published 22 years ago, it is still widely referred to. Full of insights into the many causes of “homelessness”.
Bravo! You say homelessness is a personal issue. Exactly. It is not a public issue. If you are a home owner in Cobourg, you already pay close to ~$5000 per year in property taxes. What is your limit then in your homeless shelter plan? Are you ok with paying $10,000 per year? Think really deeply about this and consider if a politician can *really* solve this problem. If YOU want to make a difference to a homeless person, do it yourself. Stop relyibg on the government – because everything they try to fix, they ultimately mess up.
I’m sure Mr. Oliver would be more than happy to shelter a few at risk individuals, right Mr.Oliver?
If you know Keith he probably has – how about you?
No, sorry my house doesn’t meet the standards that the homeless now expect in free housing.
How do you know the homeless expect better than your house? Talk to any? The warming room was just that – a warm place and a cot, it worked. But nobody is prepared to make a shelter work – sad!
Leweez was indulging in a self-righteous moral ambush of Mr Oliver. But it backfired on her with your comment, and her only response was to double down on her righteous sarcasm.
You wrote “….the town has now spent close to $15 million for what?….”
What is the source reference for the$15M?
I think you’re right for the most part. Even though your comments are not likely looked on as favorable .
With great respect to my good friend Mandy Martin who was quoted as saying “ “that the buildings were abandoned for good reason – often because making them habitable would costs thousands, if not millions of dollars.” I think she has been misled in the case of one of them.
If she was talking about the Old Golden Plough facility, that is in doubt, if it was that bad residents would not still be living in it. It is amazing to me that once the last existing resident is moved the facility is no longer fit for habitation.
The memorial arena was not abandoned for being old and decrepit but not being of use to the hockey community. We know that the political will is not there for that facility to be used as a shelter and the official blah-blah-blah retorted this week that it was not suitable for many official but disputable reasons. Such staff reasoning was obviously a sop to the do-nothing attitude of a “let someone else do it” Cobourg Council.
I certainly hope that that remark does not refer to the existing (It is not “old”) Golden Plough Lodge facility. It is anything but “abandoned” and “uninhabitable” in its present condition.
The cornerstone at the Burnham St. entrance says 1972, and the facilities inside are in excellent condition. It is being replaced (by order of the provincial government) for the simple reason that it does not have central air conditioning, although many individual rooms have their own air conditioning units.
The solution to homelessness in the county is right there in fine working condition, soon to be available for those in need of shelter, yet scheduled for demolition within the year.
The County and Town Council have to step up to address this rather than kicking the can down the road yet again. Let’s get creative. A Tiny homes park similar to a mobile home site works for affordable shelter needs, as does a container homes park, if retrofitted properly. New ideas, new ways of thinking and addressing this. Location? A location close to the County building so folks can walk to pick up their cheques and close proximity to the hospital and groceries. Let’s deal with the basic needs first – shelter, food, healthcare, mental health counselling, safe injection site/ clinic. Let’s move on this now and be a leader.
Is the existing Golden Plough close enough to the county building and the hospital? It is certainly big enough to house the homeless. If some of the beds were rented out the income generated could cover operating costs. There is a demand for small apartments and rooms. Part of the building could be used for related services. Does the Help Centre pay rent in its current location? It could rent some space from the county. There could be a warming room for those who do not want to follow the rules of the shelters and get a bed. Some space could be dedicated to helping people deal with drug/alcohol addiction. There is so much potential to use an existing resource to actually help people. If only somebody on council would try to work with the county and make something happen.
I worked at both the Help Centre and Legal Centre ( a joint agency) for 23 years. I can assure you they paid generous rent to the owner (Linmac) for the privilege. With so many disabled using those services we need the elevator for them to access the services.
The problem here is that despite all the backslapping going on at the County the reality is that of all of the claims of building “affordable” housing it is hooey. They are building units at “market rental rates” which we know from practice is not “affordable”.
The real measure should be how many RGI units are being built. For instance out of the demolishing of perfectly serviceable housing at the “Elgin” project they have increased the RGI units from 18 to 22. Wow! at what cost?