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Ottawa City Councillors want to introduce tax-levy to tackle homelessness

Mathieu Fleury and Catherine McKenney want the City of Ottawa to introduce a 1 per cent tax increase to offset the cost of keeping families in hotels.
2018-10-22 Mathieu Fleury
Mathieu Fleury speaks to media after being re-elected in Rideau-Vanier, October 22, 2018. Adam Haga/ OttawaMatters

Ottawa's City Councillor for Rideau-Vanier along with the councillor for Somerset Ward, are proposing a 1 per cent tax levy, in an attempt to curb homlessness in the city.

The modest tax increase would help raise $40-million over this four-year term of council.

The city is already spending thousands of dollars to keep families in hotels, as its homeless population has overwhelmed shelters.

The tax would help offset those costs to the city, Councillor Mathieu Fleury told 1310 NEWS.

"We are seeing no solution. So, the way to do that is to have a pocket of money around $10-million, the 1 per cent levy as a goal to enable some strategies," Fleury said.

In December, Ottawa's mayor sent a letter to the federal minister responsible for housing, requesting funding for emergency shelters. 

The letter to Jean-Yves Duclos cited the financial and capacity pressures the City of Ottawa is experiencing when it comes to emergency shelter services. 

Fleury believes introducing the tax levy will help Ottawa be a leader in addressing their problems and gain support from all levels of government.

"Absolutely, I believe the province and the feds will come along," added Fluery. "We have a strong indication they will but they need a big city like us to be apart of the solution."

Fleury will have to wait until Wednesday to see if the mayor is onboard with the idea, as the draft budget is slated to be tabled that day.

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