On Affordable Housing and Food and Income Security

This was written in response to a fair question on social media about discussing difficult issues during a campaign. I take affordable housing, food security, and income security very seriously. I have worked tirelessly to help those in need individually, but also to improve systems to assist families in vulnerable positions. I look forward to working with the community at large and my colleagues to continue advocating for everyone in our communities.

There is no question that Oakville, like all communities, faces challenges like homelessness, poverty, addiction and mental health issues. In my campaign, which largely focuses on the positive aspects of life in Oakville, I am not trying to deny the marginalized.

Talking about the success of our community does not diminish the importance of recognizing that the issues we face are very real and need to be addressed. For me, I have taken a stand and action on the issues you raised.  Over the past 18 years as a Councillor, I have made income and food security as well as housing a priority in my work on Council, as a community volunteer and as a local business operator. I have spoken out on the lack of mental health resources, especially for our youth.

For most of my time on Council, I have served on or chaired the Halton Health & Social Services Committee and was President of the Halton Community Housing Corporation. In both these capacities I have worked with my colleagues to build more subsidized housing, develop innovative new ways to provide access to homes to those with financial insecurity, fund homelessness and food security initiatives and provide resources to non-government agencies to address these social issues.

As a member of the Halton Region Police Service Board, I was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Halton Community Safety and Well-Being Plan “to enhance how we collaborate with community partners on issues that impact safety and well-being in the region.” This is a cutting edge plan to address issues around policing, social services, healthcare, education and public health, with a particular focus on the issues you have cited.

As a community volunteer I have worked with non-government organizations to raise money and also to provide direct access to services in the community through agencies such as the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre. Further, I was one of the founders and a “hands on” volunteer of the North Oakville Food Drive that provides tons of food to Halton residents every year.

Through my business, Film.Ca Cinemas, I provide access to organizations and agencies to our facilities to raise money, awareness and enhance the quality of life for those in need. We host events and activities to enrich the lives of those with financial security issues through access to free screenings and fun activities to those who cannot otherwise afford them and most recently we created the wildly successful Movie Angel program to give free admission to individuals, families and groups that otherwise could not enjoy the respite of a night out at the movies.

While is may seem frivolous to brag about how great our community is when there are people who are suffering, but I say to you that the heart of this community and our ability and willingness to share what we have, is a direct testament to why Oakville is the Best Place to Live in Canada and those of us that are in leadership can leverage that greatness to benefit those in need.