Delegation to Council: December 13

Dec 14, 2022

Good evening Mayor, councillors, and staff, 

As co-chair of the Strategic Advisory Group on Downtown Guelph, I am delegating in support of the Staff recommendations related to providing one-time operating funds to fill the gap of drop-in service between 8 a.m. and noon, at Royal City Mission.  

As noted by written submission from the Guelph Community Health Centre, Royal City Mission provides a warm, safe space with opportunity for connection, meals and reprieve from the outdoors, for people who may have nowhere else to go. This essential service is even more important as the weather becomes colder. 

As indicated in the press release that followed the Group’s last meeting just a couple weeks ago, this funding will not address the rise of mental health and addiction issues, or the acuity of distress we are witnessing downtown. Mental health and addictions require comprehensive health interventions, and currently, the necessary health capacity is non-existent or immensely under-resourced and strained. Those who are struggling the most do not have pathways to the health care they require.  

As such, the group is analyzing and planning for a system design that meets the high acuity needs of vulnerable people and community. This task is one of six named activity areas of our plan. I encourage you all to be familiar with the plan, organized by short, medium and long-term activities, as it will guide discussions and investments moving forward. We are currently working on prioritizing tactics and identifying the resourcing required to the most pertinent activities so that we can paint a more fulsome picture to leaders and decision makers such as yourself.  

I will admit that navigating the many systems of services, government jurisdictions, and organizations tasked to intervene on the issues we’re discussing has been a challenge and even at times a disappointing experience. I would be remiss to not acknowledge the perseverance from business that has kept me at the table as a partner on this matter. I want to thank the private sector, especially Main Street shops downtown for their concerns, patience, and contributions. It continues to be a difficult time for many. I am committed to supporting this effort to the extent that I can, holding the accountable for as long it takes to create better outcomes for everyone.