At the regular council session held in Carleton Place on Tuesday, June 12th, Mayor Louis Antonakos and council congratulated the newest member of the CERV (Community Emergency Response Volunteer) team, Mark Dorland on his recent graduation from the required training. This program, initiated in 2003, has been helping out in emergency situations under the guidance of town clerk Duncan Rogers. Volunteers are trained to aid in search and rescue, major power failures, floods and other natural disasters, health crises, and major fires, just to name a few of the duties they can be called out for.
Also appearing as a delegation was Terrilee Kelford, chair of Cornerstone Landing Youth Services, who was joined by other members of her group to make a presentation on youth homelessness in Lanark County as well as providing some innovative suggestions for solutions. Cornerstone assists youth between the ages of 16-24 in Lanark County, Ontario who are at risk of, or currently experiencing homelessness.
Kelford and her group have been providing this assistance since 2010 and in 2016 they supported 58 youth in Lanark and that number took a substantial jump to 82 in the following year. 90% of those helped in 2017 found housing thanks to Cornerstone Landing. She also provided some interesting statistics regarding the cost of traditional methods of trying to solve this issue. Putting someone in a formal shelter bed costs $1932 per month, if they end up in jail that cost balloons to $4,333, and if they are provided with an appropriate social housing option, the price tag drops to less than $200.
Kelford’s proposal (which she has already presented to Smiths Falls and Lanark County council) is to allow tiny homes (usually smaller than 500 square feet) to be allowed in municipalities. These smaller residences can easily fit on traditional lots in addition to a larger home, or can be grouped on small footprints of available land. She pointed out that the city of Hamilton has already made such arrangements with success and public acceptance.
Her presentation was well received and council passed a motion to instruct staff to review her ideas and report back on how they might be implemented in Carleton Place.