NORTH BAY -- North Bay city councillors are calling on both the provincial and federal governments to provide funding to prevent hundreds of people from being evicted from their homes and prevent further homelessness in the city.

Council unanimously approved a motion Tuesday night aimed at forgiving most of a tenant’s rent arrears.

Homelessness is a well-known problem in the city and it could get worse if eviction notices are served once the province lifts the moratorium on evictions.

"North Bay needs to get on this as fast as possible,” said Near North Landlords Association president Tricia Marshall. "You should not see people roaming the streets with carts. It just shouldn't happen and this is one of those things that we see as a huge issue."

City council unanimously approved a motion to call on the province and federal governments for an injection of funding to prevent the evictions. The motion was introduced by Coun. George Maroosis and seconded by Coun. Mark King.

Eviction notices ready

"If they have some understanding of the eviction notices ready to be dealt, I'm sure they don't want homeless people camping in front of their homes and offices,” said Maroosis, referring to his optimism that both levels of government will chip in to help.

The motion is based on a proposal by the landlords association and Low Income People Involvement of Nipissing. It would see tenants behind in their rent pay one-third of their outstanding balance; landlords would cover another third and the provincial and federal governments would finance the remaining share.

"When you have the number of evictions in the queue that could occur in our community, we need to keep people in their homes," said Maroosis.

The landlords association estimates $4.4 million is needed to help its clients in the entire District of Nipissing. A survey completed by the association finds almost 12 per cent of its members face eviction. That’s more than 2,000 people in the entire district.

"Thirty-nine per cent of that 12 per cent that were surveyed never had a problem with paying their rent before,” said Marshall, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the main reason many people are falling behind.

CTV News reached out to Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli for statement. Fedeli wrote that that province provided municipalities with $765 million that can be used to fund rent banks and utility banks and provide emergency loans to those most in need.

“Our government recognizes and values the efforts of tenants and landlords who continue to work together to find solutions,” said Fedeli.

CTV News also reached out to MP Anthony Rota’s office for comment. No statement was provided by the publication deadline.