Skip to content

LETTER: Reader calls Hough's comments on homelessness 'disappointing'

'It’s time to challenge old and outdated stereotypes that the most vulnerable among us choose homelessness as an option,' says area resident
ralph hough HS.jpg
Oro-Medonte Deputy Mayor Ralph Hough is shown in a file photo.

The following letter was submitted in response to a story titled County outlines $11M spending plan on homelessness for 2022. Letters can be submitted to erika@collingwoodtoday.ca. Please include your full name, address, and phone number for verification. 

*************************

One of the hottest of the topics at Simcoe County council on Feb. 8 included an unexpected exchange between Oro-Medonte Deputy Mayor Ralph Hough and Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman.

Hough, in explaining his questions regarding proposed funding to prevent homelessness in the county, explained that “some individuals are homeless by choice.”

Mayor Lehman was quick to respond by stating that “no one is homeless by choice.” 

Like Mayor Lehman, I also believe that we live in a society that endeavours to help the vulnerable among us. I am here to loudly object to the false narrative that homelessness is a choice.

As an ambassador of Oro-Medonte and the county, elected officials have a responsibility and a moral commitment to protect those who do not have a voice on council.

I am so happy that Mayor Lehman did not let this dangerous myth to go unchecked.

In my opinion, myths like these enable apathy and steal our attention away from our efforts to address homelessness through policies of affordable housing.

I spent my entire career in the Simcoe County District School Board demystifying mental-health issues among our youth.

It’s time to challenge old and outdated stereotypes that the most vulnerable among us choose homelessness as an option.

Like Mayor Lehman, I do not know a single person who chooses to be homeless and live in poverty.

In my opinion, Deputy Mayor Hough’s words are disappointing and unfortunate.

I am hoping that he will retract his comments and support all future initiatives to combat homelessness in Simcoe County.

Tim Taylor
Horseshoe Valley

*************************