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Monday, April 25, 2016

Mayor Firm in Keeping Poverty Reduction and Social Housing at the Forefront

Enjoy our Q/A with Mayor Eisenberger

The Hamiltonian: On the heels of your motion to earmark millions of dollars over 10 years to address poverty and social housing, it appears as though some councillors are reserving full support until such time that more definition is had on how that money will be spent. On that note, we acknowledge that you have provided some indications on how you might approach that question.

At the same time, recently, at least one city councillor resurrected the idea of building a tower by city hall to accommodate the consolidation of city staff, as well as potentially for other uses. Such an investment, would be significant despite leveraging what appears to be a hot real estate market. While recognizing that your motion to earmark millions of dollars to poverty reduction and social housing needs is bold, how will you navigate and protect this investment against competing ideas such as the tower idea, or anything else that might call upon significant investment? Or do you see the ability to run this investment alongside other calls for significant investments

Mayor Eisenberger: The investing in people initiative will not impact the property tax levy. $20 million to increase affordable housing will come from extending the payback term for existing City loans from the Future Fund from 2031 to 2036; and $3 million annually over 10 years for poverty reduction will come from the dividend uplift to the City resulting from the merger of Horizon Utilities Corporation and several other local utilities into the new entity provisionally called MergeCo.

Poverty comes with high costs to the health of individuals, communities, and the economy. Poverty costs federal and Ontario governments between $10.4 and $13.1 billion per year. Lost productivity costs add to this burden; “Federal and provincial governments across Canada lose between $8.6 billion and $13 billion in income tax revenue to poverty every year.”

The investing in people poverty reduction plan is over and above any project that we are currently doing or contemplate doing in the future. Once the commitment is approved by council other projects will have to look to different funding sources. The reduction or elimination of poverty needs to be and remain to be a priority.

4 comments:

  1. I saw a lot of words, but no action. No reference to consolidating City staff to get them into affordable spaces near City Hall, instead of having them spread out across Jackson Square, the Lister Block, and other areas.

    Fred, please explain, in detail, how you will lead the charge to improve access to subsidized housing and access to programs, while also working to get rid of the need for the same. Thanks.

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  2. This appears to have gone far enough as a laudable and worthwhile 'idea'. What we now need to hear for this to have any credibility going forward are practical and implementable ideas for actually achieving measurable goals. When do we get to hear these. P.S. Throwing more money at the 'poverty industry' is NOT the answer.

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  3. WEST HARBOUR RESIDENTApril 26, 2016

    And creating a ghetto or putting more action towards the one that exists, doesn't make sense to me. Spread the wealth over the entire greater Hamilton area for heaven's sake! Poverty IS a business and as soon as people realize this, there will, or should be, more accountability. There are many people who have employment because of this 'business' and I don't think they are too keen to lose their jobs at the prospect of a healthier, more productive society.

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  4. Sorry but when you come out with something like this, you need a solid plan.

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