Ottawa Matters: 2,500 Ottawa households could face eviction without freeze extension: city councillor

Catherine McKenney says the city's shelters do not have the capacity to handle such a significant increase.

Somerset Ward City Councillor Catherine McKenney says an estimated 2,500 Ottawa residents could face eviction if the Ontario government doesn't extend its freeze on residential evictions.

According to the councillor, this will overwhelm the city's shelter system,

which is already being strained due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Ottawa alone the lifting of the provincial freeze on evictions will result in an estimated 2500 households evicted into homelessness. This will overwhelm our capacity to shelter families & individuals. We need help from our provincial partners @SteveClarkPC @fordnation

— Catherine McKenney (@cmckenney) September 28, 2020

The City of Ottawa had previously declared a housing emergency in late January, and McKenney said that was during "normal times." Since then, the pandemic has exacerbated things.

"We cannot put people into homelessness at this time," McKenney urges. "We are in the midst of a pandemic, the most severe economic downturn we've seen in our lifetime, and going into winter."

McKenney says council will need create a plan on how the issue needs to be addressed, before bringing that forward to provincial and federal governments for help.

In the meantime, the councillor says housing and homelessness needs to be addressed by providing residents with the shelter they need and the help required to keep them safe.

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