From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Housing Benefit for Ontario: An Affordable Plan To Help Alleviate Hunger and Homelessness

Anyone who has read this blog knows that the issues of poverty,hunger and homelessness are of particular interest to me, so when I come across a plan to help alleviate these scourges my ears perk up.A plan supported by industry and community groups alike titled A Housing Benefit for Ontario is one such proposal. Please take some time to read what they are proposing, their arguments are well thought out, costed and eminently affordable. Or if you prefer you can read Q&A: A HOUSING BENEFIT FOR ONTARIO

Five provinces already have some form of shelter allowance, BC, Manitoba, Quebec, and New Brunswick have had them for 25 years now with Saskatchewan recently coming on board.

Rent is a fixed cost that must be paid no matter what, leading many to sacrifice eating in order to pay their rent. 42% of food bank clients report not eating a single bite of food for at least one day in the past year. The average food bank client also pays 72% of their income for shelter. One in every five Ontario tenant households spends over 50% of their income on rent. Paying anything over 50% puts people at a high risk of homelessness. There are currently 152,000 households on social housing waiting lists.

It isn't only those on welfare and disability that require assistance, the number of those with jobs and seniors that pay more than 50% of their income on rent is estimated at over 100,000 with a further 830.000 paying more than 30%.

These numbers as are all the figures regarding poverty in this so called land of plenty are indeed sobering, but we can and must do something about them. This proposal if adopted for the sum of $240 million a year (assuming 100% participation which hasn't been the case historically) can go a great distance in helping reduce those numbers.

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