Way Home Peterborough hopes to eradicate homelessness in Peterborough
Peterborough youth need a Way Home — that’s the tagline created by the Way Home youth group that is working to eradicate homelessness in Peterborough.
“We’re hoping to increase the amount of funding that’s allocated for rent subsidies to make it easier for youth, in particular, and all folks to access affordable housing. We’re also hoping to increase the capacity for the city to develop affordable housing,” said Madeline Porter, project manager for Way Home.
Over the last year, the group surveyed 100 homeless youth on their concerns and their questions about affordable housing in Peterborough. Those questions were later put to local political candidates.
“There was a lot of emphasis on just struggling with their income versus what they are paying for housing, and different varied housing situations and the impact that has,” said Crystal Hebert, youth engagement facilitator.
According to the Point in Time count of Homelessness report conducted by the United Way and city of Peterborough, 38 per cent of youth homelessness is caused by a family breakdown.
“A simple argument after dinner can turn into something a lot more escalated and youth themselves and their natural support systems are really struggling to have healthy ways of dismantling those conversations and ultimately finding a way to reconnect,” Hebert said.
Another report from the from Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation states that Peterborough has a one per cent vacancy rate, the lowest in Ontario.
The organization says these issues are not only the responsibility of local candidates but also by all residents.
“I just want people to be compassionate towards people who are clearly struggling. If you see someone in the street, just acknowledge them. You don’t have to give them anything. Just accept that they are a person and you are, too,” Hebert said.
Way Home Peterborough ultimately hopes voters consider all members of the community when they go to the polls next Monday. The group hopes that people are informed on where candidates stand on affordable housing and take the results into account.
The survey results can be found on awayhomeptbo.ca.