Mississauga has long held the image of the suburban dream.
But in reality, the gap between rich and poor is widening. Homelessness remains a challenge and more residents are relying on food banks to make ends meet. For a city as prosperous as Mississauga, it is as sad as it is unacceptable that 15 percent of our residents live in poverty.
As Mayor, I have made it my mission to ensure that Mississauga remains affordable for all and that our city remains a place where everyone has the opportunity to live a good life and prosper. If it were up to me, we would end hunger in Mississauga and put the food banks out of business. The unfortunate reality is that they are still very much needed.
I’ve made it a priority as Mayor to support the Mississauga Food Bank and their member agencies by hosting my annual food drive. Every year, I rally our City to do what they can to help feed a hungry neighbour in need. This year, we not only met but exceeded our goals, raising over $650,000 and over 400,000 pounds of food. I’d like to thank everyone who donated food and funds this year, we couldn’t have met our goal without you.
That’s more food and funds raised than ever before, bringing our total amount raised to over $1million and one million pounds of food since I started the Mayor’s food drive four years ago. I will continue to host the Mayor’s food drive until it’s no longer needed.
I will also continue to tackle the affordability issue in Mississauga head-on, by continuing to take action on our affordable housing plan. Our goal is to make 35% of new housing in Mississauga purpose-built market rental or affordable ownership. In order to achieve this, we need committed provincial and federal partners. We have already made significant progress on our plan, including protecting the existing supply of rental housing in our city, allowing for secondary units also known as basement apartments and passing a by-law to prevent the demolition and conversion of rental housing.
We look forward to continuing to put our plan into action, which includes exploring inclusive zoning and encouraging developers to build affordable units that work for our residents. My vision for Mississauga is a city where homelessness and hunger are not an issue and where everyone can afford to live comfortably. A city where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, and a share in everything that Mississauga has to offer.
Cities do not have the tools or funding to tackle these issues alone. That is why I will continue to call on provincial and federal levels of government to make meaningful and long-term investments in addressing the housing affordability crisis.
In Mississauga, when we move forward, we do it together. When one person in our community is left behind, none of us can truly move forward.
Bonnie Crombie is entering her fifth year as Mayor of Mississauga. She has a Master’s degree in Business Administraton from York University’s Schulich School of Business, and earned a Corporate Director’s Certifi cate from the Institute of Corporate Directors at the Rotman School of Management