Our representative in Queen’s Park says he’s hearing the urgent call to address homelessness and affordable housing issues in Bancroft.
Hastings-Lennox & Addington MPP Ric Bresee was in town on Friday for a North Hastings Community Trust event.
While Bresee said he’s proud of the Trust for its work in opening an overnight shelter this winter, he acknowledged that shelters are an emergency measure and don’t pose long-term solutions.
He said his government is working on both short-term and long-term solutions to end homelessness. The long-term solutions, he says, includes building more affordable housing.
“An old quote: ‘When’s the best time to plant a tree.’ The answer to that is 20 years ago,” he says, speaking metaphorically. “When’s the second best time to plant a tree? The answer to that is right now. That’s what we’re doing, we’re planting trees. We can’t go back in time, but we need to keep people going.”
A resident at the celebration told him point-blankly that more housing options are needed here. Bresee, a member of the Progressive Conservative government, reiterated to us the answer that he gave. That is that the party is working on it.
“In the long term we need more rental units, we need more housing of all types. And this government is working towards that,” he says.
“We absolutely are. We are incentivizing different types of builds. Not just $800,000 mansions that only a select few can afford. But we need smaller houses that people can buy and afford, we need smaller units that people can rent, whether they’re seniors or people that are struggling or young people.”
Bresee said Ontario will release its budget on Thursday, March 23. He said he can’t say what’s in it yet; but he said he hopes the budget will make strong commitments to address housing and homelessness.