Community Advocacy Office

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COVID19 Update:

Remote options for LEAP and OESP applications are still available. Navigators are available onsite on Mon (2-5pm), Tues. (12 - 3:30pm), Wed. (2-5pm), & Fri. (2-5pm). To meet with a Navigator in our Advocacy Office, we are still requiring masks. If that is not possible, please contact us and we can arrange an alternative space or remote option.

 

The Community Advocacy Office is located downstairs at The Table on the same floor as the Good Food Bank. The office is run by community members with lived experience of living on low-incomes and navigating government programs and other resources in our local area.

Community Navigators are available to offer resources, referrals, and support on a wide array of issues from applying for help with utility bills, to replacing lost identification, to helping fill out paperwork, to conducting a housing search, to discussing your options in a difficult situation. The office is open to all community members and no appointment is needed.

In some cases, your interaction with us may be like asking for directions, and just need to be pointed in the right direction. In other cases, it may be more like visiting an information centre when arriving at a new place, where you have some understanding of what your needs are, but may need some more detailed conversations and perhaps a map or two to figure out where you need to go. 

In other cases, you may be dealing with a more complex situation, or be stuck waiting for the help you need from more formal organizations, and you may find us helpful as companions on your journey to help read the map, check in regularly, and maybe make some calls on your behalf while you focus on the road ahead. 

No matter what, you are the one in the “driver’s seat”. We are here to help you get where you’re going.

Monday, 2 - 5pm; Tuesday, 12 - 3:30pm; Wednesday, 2 - 5pm; Friday, 2 - 5pm

613-267-6428 x111, advocacy@thetablecfc.org 

Advocacy Initiatives

Join us to learn about the role municipal governments can play in addressing critical issues including poverty, food security, housing and climate change, and how to get more involved with your municipal government. 

We'll hear from local people involved with municipal policies including a former mayor, municipal committee members and a researcher. This is an informal event where brief presentations from the panelists will be followed by a Q & A. 

Weather permitting the event will be held outdoors in The Table's back garden.

Our resource people for this event are: 

  • Lana March, former Mayor of Perth
  • Liz Gallant, member of the Perth Climate Change Advisory Panel
  • Bastou Bacharach, member of the Perth Climate Change Advisory Panel
  • Wendy Shatner, Lanark County Community Action Network
  • Maddison Hainstock, Table Community Food Centre Director, and authour of a discussion paper on Perth's Official Plan and the Local Food System.

 

Read more about the role of municipalities in food security in our recent press release

  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday July 6, 2022

Organizations from across Leeds Grenville and Lanark Counties are urging candidates for the fall municipal election to include food security in their election platforms. With the increase in food costs, supply chain issues, and threats of climate change, food is top of mind for many and should be front and centre in the municipal election. Local health, environmental and food organizations are issuing this call because food security doesn’t typically feature prominently in municipal elections. “Many people think food and agriculture are provincial and federal concerns” says Michèle Andrews from Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford and DoorNumberOne.org. “There are, however, many things municipalities can do to support local food security. Those running for election in October should get familiar with the tools they can use and put their ideas for improving local food security into their platforms.”

After seeing the low-voter turnout in the recent provincial election, The Table Community Food Centre’s Ramsey Hart wants to do what he can to increase interest and participation in the upcoming municipal election. “Municipalities are our most immediate and accessible level of government and they can do a lot to support a more just and sustainable food system. We need candidates that recognize this and we need more citizens to get involved to push for change.”
Addressing food security has many benefits for our local communities, province and nation. ConnectWell Community Health’s Registered Dietitian, Megan Weber notes that “a lack of nutritious food affects health across the lifespan and addressing food security will reduce cost and demand on the health care system.”

The groups recommend FoodCoreLGL’s Municipal Toolkit for implementing the Leeds-Grenville and Lanark Food Charter as an essential resource on the subject.  Julie Servant, Executive Director of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network adds that “this region already has a foundation to get started, and municipalities could rely on FoodCoreLGL's educational resources to help further the movement towards food sustainability.”

Areas of municipal influence over food security include: zoning to protect farmland, financial and in-kind support for local food projects like community gardens, ensuring bylaws to allow diverse uses of front or back yards for food production, support for marketing of local producers, creating zoning and bylaws for food processing including abattoirs, supporting and working with anti-poverty coalitions, and  advancing affordable housing to reduce housing costs and ensure low-income community members can direct more of their limited financial resources to food.

The public can play an important role in asking candidates about the actions they would advance to improve local food security and direct them to the Food Charter and Municipal Toolkit to further educate them.

 

Media Contacts:

Michèle Andrews, Executive Director, DoorNumberOne.org and co-founder of Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford, michele@doornumberone.org, 613-793-4237.

Ramsey Hart, Executive Director, The Table Community Food Centre, ramsey@thetablecfc.org, 613-267-6428 x 8

Julie A. Servant, Executive Director, Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network, julie@fabn.ca  613-926-5504 

Megan Weber, Registered Dietitian, ConnectWell Community Health, 613-259-2372 #2362, mweber@connectwell.ca

 

About the Organizations

ConnectWell Community Health supports people and communities in achieving and maintaining their best possible health and social well-being. https://connectwell.ca

DoorNumberOne.org is  a not-for-profit social enterprise, established to help individuals, schools, communities and organizations take steps to create a just, beautiful and regenerated world.  https://doornumberone.org

The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network contributes to strengthening sustainable community development, celebrating the interconnectedness of nature, livelihood, well-being and culture, for this and future generations. https://www.frontenacarchbiosphere.ca/

Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford is made up of citizens of Merrickville-Wolford and the surrounding area who are working together to accelerate the transition to a socially just low-carbon future. https://sustainablemw.org

The Table Community Food Centre’s mission is to foster a healthier and more connected community through a variety of food and community engagement programs. http://thetablecfc.org/

 

Did you know that the Ontario Government has a Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) on Affordable Housing and so does your municipality’s Official Plan?

Did you know the PPS and the Official Plan(s)have certain requirements and targets for new residential developments?

Hurrah you might be thinking, as you are concerned about housing costs, be they ownership or rentals. However, are you sure that the Upper Tier ( Lanark County) or Lower Tier (Beckwith, Carleton Place, Drummond/North Elmsley, Lanark Highlands, Mississippi Mills, Montague, Perth, Smith Falls or Tay Valley) governments are conforming to these requirements?

It’s time to start asking questions!

 

How do you know if your Lower or Upper Tier municipality is meeting those requirements and target goals?

 Well… you don’t. New development proposals are not required to state what their homes will sell for or what their new rental developments will rent for. As residents and council members we need answers in order to make informed decisions.

How do you know what the actual price of Affordable housing is in your municipality?

 Well…you don’t because unfortunately your Municipal Planner probably doesn’t know either. When your Municipal Planner prepares a report on any new residential development proposal the developer and the Municipal Planner are not obligated to provide data on how the proposal will meet the municipal Affordable target goals. Without data you cannot know if a development will meet your municipalities target goals and/or if it’s fulfilling the PPS Affordable directives.

 

What does the PPS say about Affordable Housing?

   The PPS requires municipalities to have Affordable Housing Policies in their Official Plans. Under section 1.4 subsection 1.4.3:

(Municipal) Planning authorities shall provide for an appropriate range and mix of housing options and densities to meet projected market-based and affordable housing needs of current and future residents of the regional market area by:

 a) establishing and implementing minimum targets for the provision of housing which is affordable to low and moderate income households and which aligns with applicable housing and homelessness plans. However, where planning is conducted by an upper-tier municipality, the upper-tier municipality in consultation with the lower-tier municipalities may identify a higher target(s) which shall represent the minimum target(s) for these lower-tier municipalities;

   Your Lower Tier municipality probably has an Affordable Housing policy in their Official Plan and even a specified target goal, along with a definition of Affordable.

Definitions: The following definitions were taken directly from the PPS 2020. They are not easily understood, all the more reason it’s time to ask.

In the PPS Affordable is for:

 a) ownership,

the least expensive of:

 1. housing for which the purchase price results in annual accommodation costs which do not exceed 30 percent of gross annual household income for low and moderate income households; or

2. housing for which the purchase price is at least 10 percent below the average purchase price of a resale unit in the regional market area;

b) rentals,

the least expensive for

 1. a unit for which the rent does not exceed 30 percent of gross annual household income for low and moderate income households; or

 2. a unit for which the rent is at or below the average market rent of a unit in the regional market area.

Low and moderate income households means:

 For ownership;

households with incomes in the lowest 60 percent of the income distribution for the regional market area; or

For rentals,

households with incomes in the lowest 60 percent of the income distribution for renter households for the regional market area. (PPS 2020)

Conclusion:

 So according to the PPS, Upper and Lower Tier governments have a vital role in ensuring they are fully engaged in providing Affordable housing. Ask the council and staff of your municipality how many of the new residential builds in your community are Affordable. If they respond that they are providing Affordable housing by providing a variety of types and densities it does not necessarily mean that the housing will be Affordable for low and moderate income households.

Just because you build more of something won’t magically make present or future homes Affordable for households that need them. Some day you or a family member might be the one that needs it.  With the Provincial and Municipal elections coming up let’s all start asking questions, be curious, be informed and be involved!

Lanark County Community Action Network:

Community Action Network | The Table Community Food Centre (thetablecfc.org)

 
 
At the Community Advocacy Office , we hear from a number of people in the community facing various housing insecure situations. Unfortunately, the housing crisis continues to worsen. Lanark County will be conducting a survey to determine how many people throughout the county are currently experiencing homelessness between September 21 - 24, 2021.
Participants may share as much or as little information as they wish, and will receive a gift card. If you or someone you know is currently without a permanent residence, please reach out to complete a survey. Surveys will be conducted in-person and by phone.
You can call the Advocacy Office at 613-267-6428 x29 (leave a message and we will call you back) or email advocacy@thetablecfc.org if you would like to participate in the survey.
 
Additionally, you may go directly to Lanark County Social Services and complete the survey with them during business hours:

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