The following is a transcript of a speech given on a Hard Hat Day at Embassy Commons on Thursday, December 2, 2021.
Good afternoon. My name is Marcus Plowright and I’m a partner in the A Team Real Estate Brokerage.
Thank you all for coming. Thank you to Indwell, LDI and the LHBA for organizing this event.
Managing to be builders and developers during this pandemic has been an enormous challenge, most significantly with labour and material shortages contributing to record setting cost escalations. That being said, our essential industries have been incredibly fortunate to be property and landowners in a time of unprecedented value growth in real estate. On average, real estate has doubled in value in the last five years! The profits, in addition to the unrealized gains of the last five years, have fuelled expansion and created enormous wealth among those gathered here.
While we’ve been working hard, many citizens in our city have suffered. Restaurant owners, service employees and the marginally employed in non-essential jobs have struggled. The plight of homelessness has escalated during the pandemic for a number of reasons, and the risks faced by those on the streets are even more deadly today. Loneliness, isolation and scarce resources have contributed to an increasing mental health challenge in our city. There are now over 1,300 individuals in our city without a permanent home, struggling to get by, to survive.
All that being said, I’m here to share some very exciting news. For the first time in our city’s history, the solution to homelessness is here. This very building, this non-profit, private sector model 40 years in the making, represents the solution. Indwell knows how to secure funding, design, build, staff and manage the very complex task of taking our most vulnerable citizens off the street, giving them the resources and support they need to lead productive lives. Indwell takes people off our streets, out of our shelters, and most importantly out of our expensive and overtaxed health care system.
As business owners we understand leverage and capital investment. We want to know our investments earn a return. Indwell secures an additional 10 dollars for every dollar donated. They are the proven, private sector solution that municipal, provincial, and federal governments are ready to back. They bring investment into our city, but most importantly, they solve one of the most vexing problems of our time – homelessness.
We want the people in this room to be the answer to homelessness in our city. We have a home for your newfound wealth. A $35,000 donation secures enough funds to build an apartment and common areas that will provide supportive housing for scores of individuals for many generations. A $300,000 donation secures an entire floor of a building. $3,000,000 helps get another facility built.
The people in this room drive our streets, play in our parks, bike along our paths, and live your lives among our least fortunate neighbours. The people in this room build our houses, neighbourhoods, schools, and shops. This is our problem to solve – because we can. Let’s not miss this opportunity. Our city needs and deserves some good news. Let’s continue this journey, started by Indwell, and be the model for the country in treating all our citizens with the respect and support they deserve.
This isn’t a band aid – this is the cure. Be a part of this solution!
Thank you again for coming. Happy Holidays to everyone!