Priority #4: A Compassionate City
There are many aspects of governing a city that are tangible and can be measured with numbers. That’s why we tend to focus on things like budgets, employment statistics and population changes. These are all critical elements of creating great cities. However, it’s sometimes attention to the less tangible social issues that can have the greatest impact to both the average citizen and the most vulnerable amongst us.
Federal and provincial governments are typically the ones that set social policy, leaving it to municipalities to figure out the ways that each policy will work in reality. This includes their grand promises about affordable housing and access to healthcare for physical and mental wellness. The reality is that their policies don’t always translate into practical ways to deliver services, nor do they come with the funding that cities like Calgary need to take care of our residents.
For that reason, I’ll ensure that our focus on Calgary’s future includes these key elements:
- Each of us deserves a roof over our heads. We need to do a better job of creating and managing both market and non-market housing. As one of the founding members of the Community Housing Affordability Collective (CHAC), I have learned that the step between leaving social housing and entering market housing is the most difficult to bridge. This results in people staying in the support system when an innovative method of financing, a damage deposit, or down payment would see them gain independent housing. Calgary needs to be a leader, working between public/social/private sectors to provide housing solutions funded by the provincial and federal governments.
- We cannot wait to address the opioid/fentanyl crisis. Calgarians are dying from accidental overdoses. Our police, fire and emergency services front line workers are urging us to take action. Our health care workers are telling us it can happen anywhere. We are witnessing people of all ages, social backgrounds and income brackets falling victim to addiction. Desperation in times of economic or mental crisis can lead people to do things otherwise unimaginable. Our increased crime rates are a reflection of this situation. Creating spaces where people suffering addiction can be treated, and stopping the channels of fentanyl into our city, will reduce the financial burden on our healthcare system, as well as helping families in getting loved ones through their pain.
- Physical and mental wellness of Calgarians requires facilities in communities all across the city. North central Calgary has grown dramatically in the past 20 years. Yet, we are missing a major health care facility and do not have a social services hub. For those who can drive, it takes about 20 minutes to access urgent care. Those who rely on public transit must rely on multiple connections to get care. As Ward 3 Councillor, it will be a priority to bring provincial and federal funding to our community for a healthcare hub.