We are sharing this email conversation between a concerned citizen of Owen Sound and their mayor.

Sublect line: Please help our city.

I am 14 years old and have lived in Owen Sound my whole life. I have been noticing the increasing amount of individuals experiencing homelessness. I am very disappointed to see this in the place I call my home. I would like to do more for people and I would like you to help since you represent our city. There is one individual I notice every time I am downtown or really anywhere around town and I feel so bad that I can't do anything for these people who are suffering. I hope that you contact me to further discuss a solution to support those who are experiencing homelessness.

Thank you for your time.

 Reply from Mayor Ian Boddy:

Thank you for your note.

This is an international issue that is affecting every city in North America.

I can't promise it will get much better for a while. We are doing everything that we can afford to do while waiting for new programs to open.

47% of city budget goes to fire and police. Police alone is $13 million per year.

Grey County spends $24 million on housing per year. $2.5 million of that is spent on homelessness support. Most of that is spent in Owen Sound.

Grey County is finishing the building at 4th Avenue and 14th Street West for 12 transition beds with mental health support to help get people off the street.

The Hosptial is converting Bayview school into 45 long term mental heath/ addiction beds. This is a $35 million project. It is not yet in full operation. It is partially funded by the province and the first one of its kind.

Everyone you see on the street are offered help. Many don't accept the help and don't want to live in a house. Sometimes it is because of severe addiction and they can't live by the rules. They cannot legally be forced to get help.

When a person is found in distress police they take them to the hospital. They are usually released back onto the street the same day.

So we are doing a lot, with more services starting soon.

While frustrating in OS, we aren't nearly as bad in comparison to most other places. Vancouver, Edmonton, Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, and London downtowns are devastated. Main streets are ghost towns with closed, boarded up stores. Ottawa, Barrie, Toronto downtowns and many others are worse than here.

We consult with other municipalities and attend lectures and sessions at conferences. No one has a better solution. We hope the Bayview project is successful.

I attach an article I recently read on California.

Thank you for recognizing and caring about people in our community, and for communicating with me.





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