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Address homelessness and addiction by starting at root of problem, says Ward 8 candidate

Cambridge lacks services for under-represented groups, says Jack Perkes
Jack Perkes is a candidate in Ward 8.

Jack Perkes

Age: 22

Occupation: City of Kitchener contract employee


How long have you lived in Cambridge? 

12+ years

Do you reside in the ward/city you are running in? 

I am a long-term resident of Cambridge

Why are you running in this election?

I am running in this election because I believe our society needs more young people and the unrepresented populations to step up, get involved and help create positive changes in our community.

What qualifies you to represent your ward?

I have always had a passion for politics. I believe the time is right for me to get involved and be the voice of positive change our community needs

Why should people vote for you?

My goal is to share my viewpoint with our council so that they may see situations in a new perspective that may not have been considered before. I aim to use my youthfulness to relate personally with a different demographic who are facing an ever-evolving problem like the current housing crisis.

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward?

With an increase in homelessness due to problems like the lack of affordable housing, those living on the streets turn to crime in order to survive. This alone causes a series of issues for both residence and homeless alike which needs to be handled sooner than later.

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Cambridge on a broader scale?

The lack of affordable housing with wait lists that are 5-10 years long. As rent increases, people must choose between paying rent or feeding themselves and their families. This has resulted in large increases in Food Bank use, in school nutrition programs and weekend/school holiday food scarcity programs. In fact, studies have shown that lack of affordable housing has resulted in an increase in the use of illicit drugs.

There is also a lack of services for the under-represented groups within Cambridge. For example, there are no programs for members of the LGBTQIA+ community within our city, many members of this group must travel to either Waterloo or Guelph in order to find these services. Some individuals may not even be able to make it out that far and find themselves in situations where they do not feel safe to be themselves.

What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Cambridge?

Increasing the speed of the approval processes for building affordable housing as well as

generating new and innovative housing types to accommodate more people in a shorter period This will allow us to create more affordable housing units over a longer span of time, whilst finding shelter for those who need it in the short-term.

What services need to be improved in Cambridge?

Access to public transit and fast-tracking LRT expansion to provide people with a way to get to work as well as other services they require. Expansion of the LRT will provide people with access to other cities within our Region.

As a city we need to create services for the LQBTQIA+ community in Cambridge as there currently are no supports in place within our city. The City of Waterloo offers programs like Spectrum and GLOW, however, Cambridge does not offer any such services to help educate and support our LGBTQIA+ communities.

Is Cambridge growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough?

Although it feels like our city is experiencing the right amount of growth, I believe it is growing faster than our current housing market can accommodate. In order to handle this we need to ensure that we can accommodate new and current residents in Cambridge with affordable housing.

What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing?

More financial supports for those who are at risk of becoming homeless due to rising rents such as re-evaluating the criteria and formula used to calculate rent based on income. I also believe we can offer financial support to assist those who have fallen behind in rent. Reallocate or reclassify any city reserve funds to allow additional access to financial supports for those segments of our city that are living close or under the poverty line.

What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?

I believe we should start at the root of the problem for some who are aging out of the Foster Care System by offering them assistance through financial aid, post-secondary education programs, or job assistance to help keep them off the streets. By providing them the tools that they need in order to survive in the real world after Foster Care.

I also believe in educating our society about Foster Care in order to provide the organization with more supportive families to assist children who are struggling.

In addition, by assisting those who are battling mental health and providing emergency shelter support for those experiencing homeless, but more importantly making shelters safer by creating individual rooms instead of ward sleeping arrangements. One of the main reasons people do not stay in shelters is the lack of safety and violence they experience; so they choose to live outside.

How do we make Cambridge an even better city to live in?

By working together and fostering a community that supports and helps one another. And in order to get there, we need to look at what the next generation is currently facing so we can lay the groundwork for their future. This is why I believe I can be the steppingstone this city needs in order to accomplish this goal.


To learn more about Jack, visit the following links:

@VoteJackPerkes on Twitter,