North Bay city council calls for federal and provincial funding with hundreds facing eviction

There’s a plan in North Bay to keep hundreds of people from getting evicted, but it needs an injection of government funding.

The Near North Landlords Association says 492 of its tenants are behind on rent and it estimates there could be a total of 1,100 in the North Bay area facing eviction.

“We’re talking about evictions that are sitting on the sheriff’s desk that can be executed the minute the premier lifts that order of no eviction,” North Bay city councillor George Maroosis said during Tuesday night’s meeting. 

“So just imagine the number of people that could end up homeless in this community. We have problems enough.”

The landlords association has hatched a plan with the Nipissing District Social Services Administration Board, where they each pick up one-third of the unpaid rent, leaving the tenant to pay one-third themselves.

North Bay city councillors say the services board, which is funded by area municipalities, can’t afford to do this on its own and needs funding from the provincial and federal governments

“We’ve tried everything over the last number of years,” said city councillor Mark King. 

“This is an issue that sits squarely on the backs of both the federal and provincial government.”

Maroosis said on top of trying to keep people from becoming homeless, the city needs to make sure it keeps private landlords in business.

“As a municipality, we need to keep the private sector engaged. Because quite frankly, it would cost us millions of dollars if the private sector were to retreat even 10 or 15 or 20 per cent,” he said.

North Bay city councillor Scott Robertson applauded this “very short-term solution to an immediate problem,” but said people living in and around the tent city in his neighbourhood have “reached a point of complete desperation.”

“We need to start hitting the big red button when it comes to longer term, more meaningful solutions,” he told council Tuesday.