Council received an update on its 10-year plan for housing and homelessness. In the first four years of the plan, more than 100,000 residents have benefitted from housing and support services, delivered by more than 130 community partners. The City has built 364 new affordable and supportive housing units, diverted 1,280 people from emergency shelters and moved 519 single individuals with long shelter stays into permanent housing with supports.
The City has made progress in reducing homelessness, with the number of single women accessing emergency shelters reaching its lowest level in the past decade, and the number of youth accessing shelters decreasing for the second year in a row. Ottawa has also seen a decrease in the number of single men who have been homeless for six months or more in the past year, along with a decrease their average length of stay in a shelter.
Council also approved an amendment to the Right of Way Patio By-law, which requires patios that encroach on the City’s road allowance to have barrier-free access and to leave a clear pathway for pedestrians that is at least two metres wide.
With respect to existing patios on sidewalks that are narrower than two metres, or where City infrastructure limits expanding the pedestrian clearway, the by-law will allow some flexibility. The City will also commit $50,000 to move some of that infrastructure, including signs and benches, where possible, to increase the clearway for pedestrians.
The City is encouraging patio owners to comply with the by-law when the summer patio season begins on April 1, 2018. However, existing patio owners will have until October 31, 2018 to submit applications, with plans for compliant patios, for next summer’s patio season. Patios operating during the winter season will need to comply with the by-law by November 1, 2018. All patios will have to comply with the by-law by April 1, 2019.