Strategic Advisory Group identifies a coordinated advocacy approach to address urgent health and housing needs in Downtown Guelph

Guelph, Ont., February 27, 2023 – The Council-endorsed Strategic Advisory Group on downtown is exploring how to support Guelph’s most vulnerable through a coordinated advocacy plan aimed at upper levels of government.

To support the advocacy work, the City is undertaking a gap analysis for homelessness, addiction and mental health services in Guelph. The analysis will consider investments and outputs of all three levels of government—municipal provincial, and federal—as well as non-for-profit and other support organizations. The results may support recommendations as part of Guelph’s multi-year budget and inform long-term system transformation work necessary to address health and housing needs.

Local fundraising to address homelessness is ongoing as part of the Home for Good Campaign. The campaign aims to reduce the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness by 50 per cent, complete three projects that contribute 72 supportive housing units in Guelph, and build a fund to continue finding innovative solutions. The advisory group encourages people to consider donating.

Mayor Cam Guthrie says, “We are in the midst of a housing crisis. This is an urgent situation that requires coordination from all levels of government, as well as our organization partners region-wide and our entire community. The City of Guelph and Wellington County continue to focus on new housing supply, yet we need financial support to create permanent housing faster.”

Shakiba Shayani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the advisory group, adds, “Homelessness, is a complex issue, requiring temporary solutions to meet urgent needs as well as system-level transformation for long-term success. Housing, mental health and addiction needs in our community have grown exponentially over the last few years and we expect these to increase. This is a significant moment for collaborative cross-sectoral and government intervention.”

About the Strategic Advisory Group on Downtown Guelph

Co-chaired by Mayor Cam Guthrie and Guelph Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Shakiba Shayani co-chair the Strategic Advisory Group on Downtown Guelph Issues function as a subcommittee of the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness and Community Safety, with a focus on downtown Guelph. The advisory group includes Guelph’s Member of Parliament Lloyd Longfield, Member of Provincial Parliament Mike Schreiner, Guelph Police Services, staff of front-line service agencies, and staff from the City of Guelph and County of Wellington.

Media contacts

Mayor Cam Guthrie
City of Guelph
[email protected]

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