By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Northumberland County observed National Housing Day on Nov. 22 with a press release that contained some sobering statistics.
At this week’s meeting of county council’s Social Services Committee, Associate Director of Housing and Homelessness Rebecca Carman shared a video that celebrates the accomplishments that have been made in addressing the issue.
Carman shares some information in the video, such as the fact that the county has some 360 units in its stock of affordable housing, but most of the content consists of individuals telling their own stories – how they found themselves in desperate need of housing as a result of relationship problems, health issues and financial challenges.
“There’s nothing that goes untouched when you don’t know where you’re going to go,” one woman shared.
Getting that roof over one’s head made all the difference for these people – a place to raise a family where they stay put and the children never have to change schools, for example, or a place to decorate for Christmas as one remembers having spent last Christmas living in a car.
“I had so many advocates looking out for me and helping me through the process,” another woman recalled.
The need continues, Carman said, and all levels of government are needed to keep these stories coming.
“Kudos – this is all from the heart,” Warden Mandy Martin said.
“It just exemplifies what’s being done.
“I want a copy of it. I want to blast it all over. It’s fabulous.”
Told she could find it on YouTube, she vowed to spread the word.
“I don’t think there’s a person in Northumberland County, a person in Ontario, likely a person in Canada who is not well area of the housing crisis we are in right now, and the fact that we need to build more housing nonstop,” she noted.
“This is an opportunity, for National Housing Day, to celebrate housing and what it means. Thanks to the tenants who volunteered to share their stories.”
“Sometimes, in housing and homelessness, the job can get pretty tough – we wanted the opportunity to celebrate the work we do,” Carman said.
“Every month we are giving keys to households and families who otherwise didn’t have a safe place to go, or couldn’t afford it.”
Carman also paid tribute to “the unfailing work of our front-line staff, both at the county level and our partner agencies, who are meeting people where they are every day and supporting them in their journey.”
The video is called Building Brighter Futures. The county’s communications team led the effort to get it made, Carman noted, and used a local producer.
The committee will recommend that it be viewed by the entire complement of county council at their Dec. 13 meeting.