For our inaugural cohort in 2018, Linking Leaders is focused on the issue of housing and homelessness in Ottawa. Participants will be immersed in the issue from the perspective of the system as well as the people within it, through site visits, walking tours, and discussions with researchers, front-line staff, and experts with lived experiences of homelessness. This learning opportunity equips community, business, government, and other civic leaders with the inspiration, insights, and intention to advocate for solutions to housing and homelessness and make a difference within their networks and communities.
Why housing & homelessness?
In 2017, there were 7,530 people sleeping in shelters in Ottawa. This does not include the many others who are not a part of 'formal' systems of care, but may be sleeping directly on the street or staying in other precarious forms of housing. Meanwhile, only 364 units of new affordable and supportive housing units have been built between 2014-2017, with over 10,000 households on the waiting list.
The social services and affordable housing sectors have worked well above their capacities, for decades, to support individuals who are homeless and at risk of homelessness, and to seek resolutions to the crisis – but they can't do it alone. This is an issue that affects all of us, and requires all of us to be a part of the solution.
We are now mid-way through in the City’s 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, and while meaningful progress has been made, there is more work to be done. Linking Leaders aims to support the 10-Year Plan and help achieve its goal of ending chronic homelessness in Ottawa, and its vision of a city where everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.