- Ottawa Lookout
- No end in sight for city’s homelessness crisis
No end in sight for city’s homelessness crisis
A lack of shelter space and affordable housing is making homelessness a possibility for too many in town.
With the temperature dropping this week, it does give one hope that last year might be the only one where the Canal stayed closed to skaters. Maybe it’s too optimistic, but there’s always hope, right?
We’ve got some news on the prospects of skating this year, how those sleeping outside are coping with the housing crisis, weekend events, and plenty more.
Let’s get to it.
— Robert Hiltz, managing editor
Friday: -3 🌡️ -10 | ☁️
Saturday: -9 🌡️ -10 | ☁️
Sunday: -5 🌡️ -8 | ❄️
Monday: -5 🌡️ -11 | 🌤
Finding ways to avoid shelters, some find themselves in danger anew
What happened: A fire at a homeless encampment along Tremblay Road highlighting how the housing crisis is hitting the city’s most vulnerable. No one was harmed, but fire crews had to put out the fire that damaged some of the tents at the site, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
The city has more than 2,300 applicants on a waitlist for supportive housing, but there are only 177 new units under construction.
The city believes there are about 275 people who are without homes, but many believe that to be an underestimate. At its peak, the city has about 2,000 shelter beds available, but many of those aren’t open 24 hours a day. One councillor told the paper the city may need to begin opening temporary tents to give people shelter through the winter.
One story: One man told the CBC how losing his apartment led first to living in his car, then slipping into his storage unit at night, and finally trying hospitals and overnight buses to stay warm and sheltered. High rents and a lack of affordable housing made the slip from housed to unhoused a quick and devastating one. He did everything he could to stay out of a shelter like the Mission, which he said was too dangerous.
The 64-year-old man told the broadcaster he has since been able to find a place at a city run shelter at a community centre. Now that he has a job he’s struggling to rent a room in the city because he said no one wants a man in his 60s as a roommate.
Donations needed: At the Ottawa Courthouse, a program run by an Ottawa police officer to provide winter clothing to people just released from jail is in desperate need of donations, CBC reported. The program provides warm clothing to people who are being freed during the winter months.
Not everyone who is arrested goes into the justice system with winter clothes. They may have been arrested in the summer, only to find themselves done serving their sentences or found not guilty in the middle of winter. This program keeps them from freezing upon release.
What’s needed: Men’s boots and winter jackets are especially in need. Local defence lawyers are collecting items, but donations can also be dropped off at the Ottawa Courthouse, the broadcaster said.
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OTTAWA BY THE NUMBERS
📸 2,175: The number of tickets a new Glebe photo radar installation issued in its first month of use. [CTV]
🏥 $1.25 billion: The amount of additional money the province needs to invest in the health system above inflation over the next four years to relieve the burden on overstretched healthcare workers, according to one union. [CBC]
🏠 $3.2 million: The value of the CHEO Dream Home, which was won by a woman in Gatineau this week. [CTV]
This year might be the one the Canal returns…maybe
Joanne Miller/Ottawa Lookout Reader
What happened: Could skating on the Rideau Canal return this year? Environment Canada’s senior climatologist believes so, CTV reported. David Phillips told the broadcaster he was confident a colder January and February would mean at least some skating on the waterway.
Last year was the first time in the skateway’s 53-year history that it remained closed to the public.
Cold temperatures: Winter may have actually arrived, as overnight temperatures will dip down to the minus double digits through next week, according to Environment Canada. With daytime highs below zero, it could give the Canal a fighting chance this year — if it lasts.
Other measures: In the coming days, the NCC said crews would be out on the ice flooding the surface to help boost its thickness, the commission said. The NCC has tried in recent years new methods to help boost ice thickness, as winters in the capital have warmed up.
But just because work crews are out on the ice, does not mean it’s safe for the public:
Reminder | Do not venture onto the #RideauCanal ice surface. 🚷
The presence of work crews on the Skateway in the coming days is not a sign that the ice surface is stable – they are trained professionals.
Details: | #ottawa#ottnews
— Rideau Canal Skateway (@NCC_Skateway)
Jan 4, 2024
Ice still dangerous: Just a week after two teens were killed falling through the ice of the Rideau River, officials across the city is warning people to stay off the ice. Just because it looks as though the ice is thick, does not mean it is able to support people. CTV found people skating on Meech Lake, and there have been others spotted on the Canal and other waterways.
🚇 After this week’s shutdown of the LRT because of falling concrete debris, councillors are wondering if maintenance standards along the line are up to snuff. [CTV]
🚂 Riders are increasingly fed up with buses that don’t show up and trains they can’t be sure will run. It’s quite the shift from more than a decade ago when OC Transpo was a system the envy of the world. [The Canadian Press]
🏎️ Residents in Orléans say the city pointed a radar speed board in the wrong direction. So when the city said the street is no longer eligible for traffic calming measures, residents say the decision was based on faulty data from the poorly placed radar. [CTV]
🚨 Gatineau police are looking for the driver of a possibly damaged truck that allegedly pushed another vehicle into oncoming traffic on Autoroute 50, then fled the scene. The truck may be damaged along its driver’s side. [CTV]
💐 An elderly pedestrian was killed by a driver on Bank Street in Alta Vista late Tuesday. Police are asking any witnesses to come forward with information. [CBC]
🔥 Enbridge said it was going to reapply for permission to replace its natural gas pipeline in the east end after the Ontario Energy Board said the company didn’t provide evidence the pipeline needed a full replacement. The city also opposed its replacement. [CTV]
Your weekend guide
📖 Hunting Monsters book launch with author Eric Emeraux: In conversation with journalist Paul Wells, the former colonel in charge of the French Central Office for the Fight against Crimes against Humanity details his time hunting some of the world’s worst war criminals for the launch of the English translation of his book, Hunting Monsters. At Perfect Books, 258 Elgin St. Free event.
🎨 Wilfrid Flood - A Passion For Pictures, Until Feb. 4: A painter in his off hours, Wilfrid Flood was a prolific cataloguer of the city through the 1930s and 40s, as the city went through significant changes in the Depre4ssion and through the war. At the Ottawa Art Gallery, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge. Free admission.
👑 Galette des Rois de France, Saturday 2 pm: To celebrate the new year, France Ottawa is hosting an event to celebrate the Epiphany with the traditional galette des Rois. At St. Paul University, 95 Clegg St. Tickets $11.
🎸 Southern Comfort - Southern Rock and Blues, Saturday 8 pm: Check out this local duo playing a Southern rock revue. Featuring Rebecca Noelle and Matthew Chaffey. At Overflow Brewing Company, 2477 Kaladar Ave. Tickets $28.
🥅 Ottawa Law Classic Hockey Game in Support of DIFD, Sunday 7 pm: The Common Law and Civil Law classes at uOttawa face off for a charity game in support of the Do It For Daron foundation. At the University of Ottawa Minto Sports Complex, 810 King Edward Ave. Tickets $15.
🏛️ Holiday Fun at the Museums, until Sunday: Special holiday events continue until the weekend at the Agriculture and Food, Aviation and Space, and Science and Technology museums. Take advantage of special events, on for a limited time. Prices vary.
🍎 Sleeping Beauty - An Annual Panto, until Sunday: The annual tradition returns! Catch this musical rendition of Sleeping Beauty during the final few showings. At the Gladstone Theatre, 910 Gladstone Ave. Adults $57, kids $47.
It’s maybe time to accept the Senators just aren’t a very good team. [Ottawa Citizen]
Don’t toss your Christmas tree to the curb! The NCC is accepting real trees until the end of January to line the Canal. [Twitter]
If you want to get a jump on it, the Vacant Unit Tax declaration system is now open. You’ve got until March 21 to avoid late fees. [City of Ottawa]
In 1904 the city’s Central Post Office was devastated by fire, making for quite the photo the next day. [Reddit]
Good news, Air France has extended its direct Ottawa-Paris route for another year. [CTV]
Are you in Westboro and missing a dog? This sweet creature was found near the Dovercourt Community Centre recently. [Reddit]
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This week in food
🍾 (Insiders only) A few more top tastes from 2023 to start the New Year off right.
🥬 (Insiders only) This time of year is perfect to try out this traditional grünkhol recipe packed with kale and warm, cozy goodness.
🍷 (Insiders only) You can never go wrong with this Italian red wine. It’s not flashy, but it’s very affordable.
Congrats to Sylvie, Lisa, Wendy, Chris, Sara, and many more of you who knew this week’s Ottawa Guesser was at Wellington West and Smirle. Extra bonus points for all of you who knew it was taken during last summer’s forest fires, giving the sky that eerie orange cast.
Think you can solve this week’s Ottawa Wordle? Play now.
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