Keith Hobbs wants all people to have a secure income and a place to live

CBC News - Thunder Bay,  Aug 27,2015- Thunder Bay's mayor says a guaranteed annual income, and more affordable housing would help deal with many social issues in the city.

Keith Hobbs' comments were highlighted in a publication called Leaders and Legacies.

Hobbs said he wants to get more vocal about homelessness, as he is not getting the necessary help from either the federal or provincial governments.

He noted it was at the forefront of his mind when he took a walk around the city, when he was "stepping over people ... sleeping in bushes, under vehicles."

"They're not being treated for their alcohol and drug addictions. It's a blight on our city, and it's something we need help with. We can't do it alone."

Hobbs said he's hopeful that the province will step in, but is doubtful he'll receive much help from the federal government.

The national magazine in which his quotes appear is geared toward an audience of urban leadership types, such as mayors and city managers.

The article makes a lot of comparisons to Medicine Hat, a city that claims to have eliminated homelessness.

"We're not seeing what happened in Medicine Hat," Hobbs continued.

"That was a mayor who eradicated homelessness [in a] ... town of 60,000 people. He got $30 million from the province for capital, and $3 million, year-over-year for operating funds. If the federal government can double that [for] the City of Thunder Bay — which [has] 120,000 [people] — I'll tell you right now, we can eradicate homelessness too."

The funding was poured into housing, he noted.

"It's high time for all levels of government to get serious about this issue," Hobbs said.

"We spend billions and billions of dollars countrywide on social programs, [but] the heart of the matter is homelessness and giving people a decent standard of living so they can be productive citizens."

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