Guelph, Ont., April 4, 2023 – The Strategic Advisory Group on Downtown is gathering data to better understand the housing, mental health and social support needs of Guelphites as well as programs and services currently in place. This data will help determine funding gaps and develop research-based solutions for Guelph and Wellington County.
Mayor Cam Guthrie says, “To address the complex, interrelated issues facing Guelph’s downtown, we need up-to-date data. We have several agencies and governments working to address homelessness, mental health and addiction. We need a full understanding of who is doing what and where there is overlap and gaps. This information will ensure we are using existing resources wisely to address urgent needs on the ground while planning staff and resources for long-term solutions to this crisis.”
The Advisory Group was presented with data from the County of Wellington Downtown Outreach Survey. A total of 168 individuals were surveyed in fall 2022 at seven (7) locations about their current housing situation. Two-thirds of respondents were housed, with the remaining participants using emergency shelters (13 per cent), staying with friends (11 per cent), or being without shelter (12 per cent). Most people who were unhoused were unhappy with their housing situation, noting affordability as the top reason preventing them from obtaining permanent housing.
The City of Guelph began working with a Guelph-based consultant, Collective Results, to conduct an assessment and gap review of urgent homelessness, addictions and mental health services in the city. The analysis will include interviews with support and government agencies as well as those with lived experience with homelessness, mental health and addiction. The results will be presented to City Council in September and may support recommendations as part of Guelph’s multi-year budget and inform long-term work to address health and housing needs.
“Our social and economic wellbeing are inextricably linked,” says Shakiba Shayani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the advisory group. “We continue to hear about the challenges businesses, residents and visitors face downtown. The data and insight coming from the County and the City will better position us to address the real human needs faced by our most vulnerable community members while ensuring Guelph’s economic prosperity in the downtown core.”
About the Strategic Advisory Group on Downtown Guelph
Co-chaired by Mayor Cam Guthrie and Guelph Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Shakiba Shayani 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.
Mayor Cam Guthrie
City of Guelph
President and CEO, Chamber of Commerce
519-822-8081 extension 2