Mayor's first 'state of the city' speech brings $25M gift for homeless crisis
Mayor Josh Morgan made other promises, including housing in the core and improved bus service
An anonymous family has donated $25-million to help start combating homelessness and poverty in London, Mayor Josh Morgan announced at his first state of the city speech Tuesday morning.
There were no details of what the money will be used for, but it will go toward a plan to build a "permanent and sustainable system" that will replace the emergency response to the addiction and mental health crisis visible on the city's streets, Morgan said.
"Housing provides an opportunity to heal," Morgan said to the crowd of 1,300 business leaders and politicians. In the parking lot across the road for the convention centre, where many attendees parked, an unsheltered person had spent the night in tent.
"However, it does not, on its own, solve complex mental health and addictions issues. It does not on its own address poverty, food security, or skills training," Morgan said.
Morgan also highlighted the city's successes and made announcements, including:
- London has to start using unused commercial office space, especially in the core, for housing. There are 1 million square feet available inside commercial office space in the core alone. Morgan says he wants to start using incentives that work outside of downtown to make more affordable units in the city centre.
- The London Transit Commission will increase frequency in 17 routes, as well as new express routes connecting White Oaks Mall and Fanshawe College. There will also be an app by this fall to connect people to jobs in the Innovation Park Industrial Area from Argyle Mall.
- Morgan says he supports the London police ask to hire 52 new front-line police officers
- London will host the 2024 UNESCO cities of music meetings.