Update – Cobourg Mayor Responds to Social Media Post Stating “Cobourg Never Cared” About the Homeless

In Editor Choice, Local

Editors Note – Update – Northumberland County has issued a clarification to Cobourg Mayor Lucas Cleveland’s numbers responding to the annual budge.

“A recent article indicates that Northumberland County’s budget is over $300 million. For clarification, the County’s 2024 budget is $218 million. $74 million of this is funded through property tax, with the remaining budget funded through a combination of grants and subsidies from external sources, debt and reserves, and fees. Helpful resources, including a two-page infographic breakdown of the budget (specifics of how services are funded, dollars invested by service, and more), are available at Northumberland.ca/Budget.”


Cobourg Mayor Lucas Cleveland has responded to a social media post that originally stated that, the, “municipal level (of) Cobourg has never cared about their homeless/unhoused.”

Cleveland stated he did agree with many of Ashley O’Neil’s points that have been edited, “but I would push back with the statement “ municipal level Cobourg has never cared about their homeless/unhoused.”

Cleveland went on to say the words O’Neil used were “pretty harsh” words for people who are doing their best and have stepped forward to serve the community of Cobourg.

“In fact I would suggest that there is a much bigger issue with the belief in this community that it’s somehow the job of Cobourg Council to address social service delivery or build affordable housing.

“Cobourg’s operational budget is $30 million. The County ‘s is over $300 million. This is a clear line in municipal law, this is legally verifiable and this is a division of powers that isn’t well known, that you seem to believe in this post and continually adds to the misinformation going around town.

It’s not that we don’t care, it’s that it’s not our legal mandate and we don’t receive the funding to deliver.

As a council we need to work together to direct our communities frustration to the level of government that can effect the change we desire.

The County is the level of government that is 100% responsible for the delivery of all social services and is the housing manager for the region. It is only the County that receives provincial funding to provide these services . If you fundamentally believe there is systemic failure in our social service locally or in the affordable housing being provided there is only one level to hold to account locally and it’s isn’t Cobourg Council.

I am part of the County and I look forward to hearing those complaints so that we as a County council can continue to make changes to address these systemic issues.

There could be an argument made that because previous Cobourg councils did try to address homelessness, because they DID care about their unhoused neighbours, because they tried unsuccessfully to fix a problem that wasn’t there’s to solve without the provincial funding to do so….. that previous Cobourg councils have actually muddied the waters of accountability.

Cobourg residents like yourself need to know what level of government they can and should hold to account , where can we direct our energy to demand better services for our most vulnerable.

I am always excited to hear the feedback at County in my role as Councillor there.

What is the grants process for the County?

Have you ever tried to do a delegation at the County to share the concerns you see?

Have you reviewed the millions in provincial transfers over the past 10 years that have gone to the County specifically for the delivery of services to our unhoused?

Have you compared the delivery of social services in Northumberland to comparable counties? Do you know how much money we get at the County from the province to address affordable housing?

As a member of the County council these are the questions I look forward to answering along with my fellow councillors at the County.”

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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