September 4, 2018
General Brian Peddle
CEO & International Leader of The Salvation Army
& Commissioner Rosalie Peddle
World President of Women’s Ministries
The Salvation Army International Headquarters
101 Queen Victoria Street
London, United Kingdom
Dear General Peddle & Commissioner Peddle,
With respect, and sincerity, I would like to congratulate you both on a lifetime of faithful service to those in need of God’s infinite blessings. It is with a glad heart that I celebrate your elections and appointments as International Leaders of the Salvation Army. As a fellow Canadian I rejoice that folks from our rock, Newfoundland, have become such solid rocks leading at the helm bye!
Please accept this letter as an introduction to an important ministry development in Ottawa, which I believe warrants your consideration. On November 22, 2017, Ottawa City Council gave it’s approval for a controversial relocation and reconfiguration of a current Salvation Army emergency men’s homeless shelter known as the Ottawa Booth Center, located at 171 George Street.
This proposal has engendered quite a divisive storm in our Nation’s Capital with many flanks now polarized in opposition to this project while our current Mayor, Mr. Jim Watson, and Glenn van Gulik, Divisional Secretary for Public Relations, Ontario Central East Division of The Salvation Army remain steadfast in their support of it.
After intensive debate on this hotly charged initiative one City Councillor who had overseen the debate, Diane Deans, summarized the result after the vote. ”This is a failure of leadership! This has been a complete failure of process,” she said, criticizing both the Salvation Army for not offering any compromises to the Vanier community, and the city for failing to better guide the proposal.
Our elected community leaders, Mathieu Fleury, City Councillor of Rideau-Vanier Ward 12, Natalie Desrosiers, MPP (Member of Ontario Provincial Parliament) for Ottawa Vanier and Mona Fortier, MP (Canadian Federal Member of Parliament) for Ottawa-Vanier, sent joint letters inviting Susan McMillan, The Salvation Army Commissioner & Territorial Commander for Canada and Bermuda, to consider abandoning this application in view of many extenuating circumstances. Our elected officials asked them to contemplate a partnership with us in the community towards implementing a Housing First approach throughout Ottawa and relocating a smaller emergency shelter in an appropriate location. Ms. McMillan’s reply was not definitive nor fully informed. (All correspondence enclosed).
Events have conspired to situate me in the very eye of this storm as a leader in community advocacy, as an appellant against this planning decision in provincial court, as an adversely affected property and business owner, and now as a Mayoral Candidate for the City of Ottawa.
I reach out to you as a student of homelessness and like you, as a compassionate human being. I share the Salvation Army’s motivation for helping those in our society who are the most vulnerable in need.
The court for this planning issue is known as The Ontario Municipal Board. A large backlog of cases before this court dictates that a trial date is most likely another six months to a year away. My intimate knowledge of the case and experience before this court provides much confidence that the proposal will be overturned. The community has raised nearly $200,000 (Canadian) to fund this appeal.
As an SOS volunteer, I am asking that you help me achieve a resolution that will not only benefit our community but also the Salvation Army. I envision a much greater opportunity here to partner in the establishment of a ‘Housing First’ model as Ottawa’s primary approach towards alleviating homelessness. We can be architects working together, blueprinting this inevitable transition all across Canada and the globe.
Alberta and Scandinavia provide two shining examples of this evolution. The University Of Ottawa is a world leader, in developing and promoting this concept which is already in line with our provincial and federal funding directives. I am aware that your venerable Christian organization leads the way in Housing First initiatives in other jurisdictions around the world. Together, we have all of the available resources at hand to cultivate this proven approach in Ottawa.
Everyone here shares your personal convictions. There exists great potential for a confluence of outstanding leadership in action providing a step forward in this diverse world we all call home. As your mission statement so nobly exemplifies: ‘We can be a transforming influence in the communities of our world’.
It is with fervent hope and a prayer in my heart that I await your reply.
306 Montfort St.
Ottawa Ontario, Canada