Candidates talk housing during lunch at shelter

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/04/26/candidates-talk-housing-during-lunch-at-shelter

Marty Blair stopped into the Shepherds of Good Hope for a hot lunch Tuesday.

“I’ve been on the street all night last night,” he said.

Blair isn’t alone.

In 2010 more than 7,000 people in Ottawa used homeless shelters.

“But the most staggering thing was that 832 families actually found themselves in need of emergency shelter,” said Marion Wright, chair of the Alliance to End Homelessness, adding on average they stayed for 72 days.

Federal candidates stated each party’s intentions and level of commitment to ending homelessness Tuesday.

“The social determinants of health are food, housing, and education. You’ve got to come through on these things,” said Mauril Belanger, Liberal incumbent in Ottawa-Vanier.

Holding a copy of the 2010 ‘report card on ending homelessness,’ Ottawa Centre NDP incumbent Paul Dewar said the findings mean nothing without support.

“So we have to make sure that this isn’t just a piece of paper, that we actually put things into action,” said Dewar.

Mark MacKenzie, who’s running for the Green party in Ottawa West-Nepean, said “It should be all about energy efficiency so that people can meet their housing needs and their energy bills, be able to pay for those.”

Ottawa West-Nepean Conservative incumbent John Baird didn’t attend the meeting.

In Ottawa there are nine affordable housing projects underway, mostly funded by federal and provincial money.

Wright said she’s hoping people “vote housing” on May 2.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

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