Strategic Advisory Group identifies funding needs to help make downtown Guelph safer and more welcoming

Guelph, Ont., January 30, 2023 – A Guelph City Council-endorsed strategic advisory group has identified funding needs to help make downtown Guelph safer and more welcoming for everyone. The advisory group is a subcommittee of the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness and Community Safety, focused on making a difference in downtown Guelph, yet acknowledging many of the solutions proposed will help across the entire community.

Funding needs were identified based on activities in six priority areas:

  1. accelerating permanent supportive housing;
  2. expanding daytime and overnight services and facilities;
  3. enhancing safety;
  4. strengthening resilience and prevention;
  5. making service changes for acute needs; and
  6. advocating for policy and system change, including funding from upper levels of government.

Funding needs were determined after:

  • taking an inventory of all tasks that need to be completed across each priority area
  • identifying opportunities for better public service for those struggling with mental health, addictions and precarious housing
  • accessing the challenges and gaps in greater detail from diverse perspectives
  • getting a clearer picture of how to navigate the many systems of services, government jurisdictions and community organizations who intervene on the issues at hand

Some funding has already been secured, and concrete steps have been taken towards fulfilling short-term objectives. The group is also exploring opportunities for funding from upper levels of government.

Mayor Cam Guthrie says, “The Advisory Group now has a clearer idea of what it will cost to meet the needs of community members in downtown Guelph. Navigating complex and systemic challenges concerning safety and homelessness is no easy task but the advisory group remains focused on doing everything we can to help make our downtown a safer, more welcoming and prosperous place for everyone.”

Shakiba Shayani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the advisory group, adds, “Having a cross-functional team of experts weigh in on the issues people are experiencing in downtown Guelph has helped us explore challenges and opportunities from diverse perspectives. It’s also helped mobilize our collective resources as we work towards developing effective and long-lasting solutions. Now we must keep the advisory group’s efforts focused on implementing activities and tactics to accelerate the pace to create change.”

About the strategic advisory group of the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness and Community Safety

Mayor Cam Guthrie and Guelph Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Shakiba Shayani co-chair the advisory group. The advisory group includes Guelph’s Member of Parliament Lloyd Longfield, Member of Provincial Parliament Mike Schreiner, Chief of Police Gord Cobey, directors of front-line service agencies, and staff from the County of Wellington.

View progress reports on the advisory group’s work.

Media contacts

Mayor Cam Guthrie
City of Guelph
[email protected]

Shakiba Shayani
President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce
[email protected] 
519-822-8081 extension 2