Earlier this summer a City audit was released regarding the issue of motel/hotel rooms being used as overflow space for family shelters. The main issue is that there are too many families seeking shelter and not enough shelter space for them. At any time, there could be 282 homeless families staying in motel and hotel rooms paid for by the city and the average time spent there is 4 months.
This system of housing families is unsustainable. This issue has been exacerbated since the closure of one of two city-run family shelters.
The audit was specifically looking into the Ottawa Inn on Montreal Rd because this motel is one of main providers for overflow space. The audit found that the motel was using some unapproved units without the city’s knowledge, and we need to find better, more cost-efficient alternatives.
City staff have recognized that this situation is unsustainable and are considering building a new family shelter. I would be in support of new family shelter, but this should not be considered a permanent solution because shelters are not homes. The bottom line is that we need more affordable housing in the City of Ottawa.