There’s been no shortage of bad news about homelessness in our city. Ottawa did very poorly on the last Alliance to End Homelessness Annual Report Card with two ‘F’s’ and a ‘D+’. We did achieve one A in the area of new affordable housing units. It was our first ever ‘A’ since the report first started. I heard some very good news yesterday though and I wanted to pass along this encouragement. We are making a difference. I was at a meeting yesterday of outreach agencies to the homeless in Ottawa, and as we went around the table doing updates, we started to see something that we haven’t in a long time. The outreach teams are seeing less people on the street and the shelters actually have empty beds. Not a lot of beds mind you, but a few. The representative from the city confirmed what we are seeing by telling us that they are seeing a slow but steady decrease in the number of people in shelters. There is a team around the table who works to find housing for difficult cases of homelessness, and they are almost out of clients and are shifting to managing their considerable caseload. They were careful to state that homelessness is not ‘cured’ in our city, but we are slowly making a dent.
So…in the midst of discouraging news…some good news. We ARE making a difference.