I believe that taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves should be a top priority for the municipal government. There are few decent-paying jobs in Sault Ste. Marie for low-income individuals and families. These people have little choice but to apply to social housing. There are over 1200 people here in the Sault waiting for geared-to-income housing. The average waiting time is between 12-18 months… Most people have to wait over a year to find affordable housing.
This is unacceptable. I hope that during this election campaign, the candidates running for Mayor and for Council make finding affordable housing for the low income individuals and families a top priority.
If I was a candidate, my plan would be to reach out to the companies that rent units, such as Elstrong and Sar Gin, and discuss ways to open up more units to Social Housing recipients. I would also propose lower taxes for developers who provide units to Social Housing recipients. A 75% tax reduction for the first year. A 50% tax reduction for the second year, and the third year there would be a 25% tax reduction.
This plan would work. This plan would provide incentive for developers to open their units to residents on Social Housing. The fact that the City of SSM does not already provide such incentives, it does bother me deeply. 1200 individuals and families are relying on the government for help.
What I am proposing is not creating a ‘welfare state.’ I believe that individuals should not have to rely on the government for financial assistance unless absolutely necessary. Individuals should definitely use government help as a last resort. Unfortunately, at the moment, Sault Ste. Marie’s employment picture is not a pretty one. The unemployment rate remains high. Many jobs are low-wage, and provide few hours to employees. Indeed, some people have to work two, and in come cases, three or four jobs, to live above the poverty line, which is currently $19,000 a year.
My hope is that the next City Council will look at creating more high-paying jobs in Sault Ste. Marie. My hope is that City Council will look at increasing the number of Social Housing units in this City. My hope is that the poverty levels in Sault Ste. Marie decrease drastically in the next four years. My hope is that more jobs come to Sault Ste. Marie in the next four years. My hope is that less people will rely on government assistance in the next four years.