OPINION: Homelessness is a problem for all

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According to the online international real estate portal Point2, Chatham-Kent is one of the top three of Ontario’s largest municipalities in terms of best cost of living space per square foot.

So, even after our real estate price leaps of recent years, compared to other spots in the province, C-K remains a very affordable place to live.

Just try telling that to people struggling to make ends meet.

And, if Chatham-Kent residents have it ‘so good’ in terms of housing affordability, what does that tell us about the rest of the province?

We have signs of homelessness all over Chatham. Take the time to look, and you will see people moving about with their entire lives on their backs or in a cart they’re pushing or pulling. Living with so few worldly possessions seems to weigh these people down like an anvil.

For some, mental health and addiction issues leave them shells of their former selves.

Is homelessness a property tax issue? Does that even make sense?

Yet, the way the province works, it’s a social and housing issue, which falls upon municipalities to handle.

That’s nonsensical. It is too much to ask the homeowners and property owners to shoulder this load themselves. It’s a widespread problem, so all wage earners should be tasked to contribute. That taxation support is at the federal or provincial level, not municipal.

Homelessness is not something a government should try to sweep out of sight to be ignored. These are real people. They need help, and it’s more than what ratepayers can afford to give.

In a time where higher interest rates are going to soon force people out of their own homes when their mortgages come up for renewal, the problem is only going to get worse.

Just look at the people who jumped at the chance for a $1,000 to be put towards their rent or mortgage from an initiative spearheaded by Dave and Anita Hyatt in Wallaceburg. The struggles are all-too real, and they are not as isolated as some might think.

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