Valentine’s Day may be a good day to talk about commitment, then again, maybe not.
About a year and a half ago, I received a copy of the London Community Housing Strategy, dated June 2010. It was a rather large document, and one that I was totally unfamiliar with, having just started here at Mission Services of London. The first page of that document was a letter dated June 10, 2010 from then Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best and Councilor Susan Eagle. The letter was addressed “Dear Friends”. I felt welcomed already.
The penultimate paragraph of that letter was actually one sentence. “The City of London is committed to ensuring our housing investments and partnerships enhance the rental and ownership market, as well as meet the needs of households through community engagement, programs, advocacy, and service innovations.”
That was important information for me. The City of London was committed. I felt affirmed.
The second page of that document was a notice certifying that Municipal Council, at its session held on June 28, 2010 resolved, among other things that the London Community Housing Strategy BE APPROVED, it being noted that the source of funding related to the implementation of this strategy remains reliant on the …ongoing, annual, municipal budget contribution of $2,000,000 to the housing capital reserve.
This was a five year strategy and a five year commitment. I felt supported.
Objective 5.2 of the London Community Housing Strategy was “Maintain annual $2 million city investment in affordable housing. That objective meant “demonstrating the City’s commitment to a housing continuum, and acknowledging the City’s role as a partner with other orders of government, London will continue to invest money from the Municipal tax base into the creation of new affordable housing, in line with the Community Housing Strategy”.
Fast forward now to budget deliberations in February 2012. The alternative taken to balance the budget was to reduce the “commitment” to affordable housing by 50% from $2,000,000 per year to $1,000,000.
Commitment? Long term strategy? Political expediency? What do you think?