The construction of five multiple-residential buildings containing a total of 127 units on a 1.94 hectare property located at 425 Highview Drive received site plan approval at Huntsville’s planning committee on October 11, 2017.

For 20 years, 65 per cent of the units, made up of one and two bedroom apartments, will rent at 20 per cent below market value, as determined by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). In exchange, the Town will allow a slight increase in permitted density on the lands from 60 units per hectare (2.47 acres) to 65.5 units per hectare.

“That’s a great exchange,” said Huntsville Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano.

For most of his life, Murray Barr was an ordinary American until everything changed abruptly when his story of personal tragedy and period of homelessness created a media frenzy. It was in his article, “Million Dollar Murray,” that Malcolm Gladwell turned homelessness into a celebrity cause by illustrating how Barr cost the taxpayers of Reno, Nevada around a million dollars despite not having a permanent home.

Murray’s story shocked many because it seemed unfathomable that homelessness cost money, let alone a million dollars. In reality, this is far from uncommon.

People without a home, and lacking supports for mental illness and addiction, can draw significantly on social services for survival, including shelters, social agencies and hospitals. They also tend to interact more frequently with police, fire and paramedic services – those agencies on the frontlines, dealing with the visible symptoms of homelessness. This all costs money.

Why Don’t the Poor Rise Up? is the title of a new anthology co-edited by Mount Royal University associate English professor Michael Truscello and Toronto-based post-secondary educator Ajamu Nangwaya.

The book shares its title with a 2015 New York Times op-ed by American academic and journalist Thomas Edsall. Was that the impetus for the project?

It provided impetus, although the question of why don’t the poor rise up is always part of revolutionary thinking. But the op-ed was recognition that even capitalist media like The New York Times and The Economist are perplexed there isn’t more opposition to the system given the record levels of inequality, runaway climate change, and other [oppressive] facets of the current order. That suggested there was a new level of awareness, and the moment was ripe for popular revolt

There is data that demonstrates that for our poor, faced with the priorities of daily survival, voting is a “nice-to-do,” rather than a “need to do.”

Ironically, given their large number, if the poor got out and cast their vote, they could decide who will govern our city and influence policies to reduce poverty in Calgary. And at the same time, it would reaffirm their citizenship and begin to lessen their marginalization and powerlessness.

So what can be done in these final days of the 2017 municipal campaign?

… It seems so simple, yet we are not doing it. It is not too late. Start today. By assisting people get out to vote, you will be helping to reduce poverty.

Bruce County council is not quite ready to sign off on its 2018 budget.

Council turned the proposed budget back to staff, despite a recommendation to approve the document at a 3.54% tax levy increase, asking for an additional $100,000 to be cut, which would bring the tax increase to 3.3%, or $1.4-million.

One suggestion dismissed by council was to cut a proposed $200,000 contribution to affordable housing down to $100,000, but Twolan says that’s not an area council wants to be cutting.

“We have to start investing more into affordable housing, so hopefully [senior staff] will come back with ways to getting to 3.3% without going at that $100,000 for affordable housing,” says Twolan.

City council has been asked to donate $200,000 in support of the creation of Living Space, a new initiative aimed at helping the homeless in Timmins.

The idea was put forward at this week’s council meeting by representatives of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Cochrane Temiskaming Branch, who want to set up an operations facility, transitional housing and a warming centre at 25 Cedar St. N.

Catherine Simunovic, the president of the CMHA board, told council that Living Space is also the concept name given to a partnership of 11 organizations, who she said are passionately committed to ending the chronic homelessness problem in Timmins.

Since June of last year, Stuart Wood School has sat empty. However, this winter it will be given new life as a safe haven for the city’s homeless population.

“We had the space available,” said acting mayor Arjun Singh. “It’s obviously not used right now, and we’re still waiting for some discussions to go through in terms of the final use for that building, so it was an ideal position for us to utilize it for the extreme weather shelter, just the gym portion, for the wintertime.”

The temporary shelter is fully funded by BC Housing, and will be operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association.