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Many times constituents ask questions. This is the page that will answer the questions asked.
Barb asked: What do you think the root cause of homelessness is?
Answer: The root cause of poverty and homelessness is a complicated situation. For many individuals, acknowledged as the hard to serve or chronic population, causes include, but are not limited to, mental health, addiction and social/cultural concerns such as FASD which limit the ability to work and care for themselves. We also have a whole spectrum of individuals capable of working that cannot find sustainable jobs because their life circumstances impeded their ability to get an education or job training. They are stuck in minimum wage jobs and we know that $17.50 is the number required to reach the poverty line. With minimum wage being considerably lower, they are stuck being economically disadvantaged, unable to provide the necessities of life.
What is needed is a multifaceted approach that is centered on helping the individuals to obtain a level of appropriate self direction and self help.
Unfortunately budgets are created in silos so it looks like this is an extremely expensive propsition
Supported Housing is a concept that assists the person with severe needs due to mental health, addiction etc. to learn basic life skills. Funding for this type of housing appears to be expensive but if you look at the reduced costs to Police, Fire, EMS, hospitals, detox etc etc, it is actually less expensive overall.
Along with supportive housing as a society, we need transitional housing, with a reduced level of support but is there to get individuals and their family up on their feet and moving toward being self sustaining.
We also need affordable housing with rent geared to income. affordable housing should never be in a congregated segregated setting but rather a mixed use development. By embedding the supported housing into a mixed use environement a sense of dignity and pride is instilled.
In a nutshell, what is the root cause of homelessness? Society has not been tackling the problem in a holistic manner and this method of helping must change so that individuals and their family are encouraged to help themselves. Welfare should never be a lifestyle choice!
Joyce asked: What are your thoughts on the environment?
Environmental issues involve all of us taking responsibility to protect our natural resources. Long term impact of ignoring the environment will have severe consequences for future generations. From simple things like NO LAWN SIGNS to protect the clogging of land fill, to refusing to use one use plastics where ever possible, we can make a huge difference. Recycling is important. Here in Niagara we have a great recycling plant that turns a profit and puts back money to help others. It is a great example of community resources being used appropriately.
We are at risk for more disasters throughout the world as the result of climate change. While there are some who are climate change nay sayers, it is a fact that most disasters are the result of climate change. Statistically in the last 20 years, disasters have risen from 50 % related to climate change to a whopping 70 % today. We must protect our environment. The use of electric fueled cars, reduction of single occupant car drives, public transportation, all may help reduce the green house emissions. The use of pesticides and chemicals to enhance the longevity of our food or to make it prettier must be curtailed. Promoting sustainable small gardens is extremely important.
Environmental protection demands we protect our precious resources such as protecting species that occupy wetlands and other ecco systems. We cannot extinguish a whole species to put up an apartment building!
My concerns are environmental integrity by reducing polutents and recycling. Using muti use articles and not having wasteful packaging will reduce pollutants.
Sustainability of all resources must be a governmental priority. Without a commitment from the top, we are risk for major human catastrophes.
I have proven my commitment to the environment by actively being involved in trying to save the wetlands associated with Thundering Waters now called Riverview. I have also been engaged in protesting the River Rd., Development as being dangerous due to encroachment on the escarpment by the Falls.
We are active recyclers and put out more recycling than garbage! We pick up garbage for recycling and get driven nuts by people who throw away their plastic water bottles.
I am not doing lawn signs due to the issue of clogging the land fill which is already overburdened. If I don't win, I will still feel good that I have not polluted. I am not printing info on glossy cards to mail out as I would rather put that cost toward toward something important like Cancer research or Habitat for Humanity. Just think, if all the election budgets went into Habitat, I estimate that 200 families would have homes. A much better use of resources.
And that is what a commitment to the environment is all about. It is a commitment to protect resources and to make our land a better place for the future.