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Further to the unanimous declaration of a housing emergency and crisis last week by Ottawa city council, homelessness in our community has gotten worse and given the urgency and magnitude of the problem, action is needed across federal, provincial and municipal governments to increase affordable housing.

Homelessness is a highly stigmatizing condition and those affected can feel overwhelming shame, helplessness and exhaustion.

As homelessness increases, shelters in Ottawa are either full or operating at over capacity: at the Mission, we’ve been operating at over 100% capacity for well over 2 years.

We need public spaces where those who are homelessness can go to find warmth and relief.

Both within Ottawa and nationally, concern about homelessness is widespread: according to pollster Nik Nanos, ‘a majority of Canadians reported that someone they cared about was at risk of being homeless.

When you walk down the street in your neighbourhood, one in five of your neighbours have someone they care about and think that person may have a high or medium risk of being homeless.’

So this issue affects not just those who are homeless, but also those who care about them.