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:: Economic Hardship and Those in Need ::

Low-Income Households:
One of the great ironies of our time is that while Canada is regularly cited as being one of the best places in the World to live, in fact 1 of every 8 Canadians actually live in poverty. The situation in Ontario is only marginally better with 1 out of every 9 below the poverty line. Low-income households include disproportionate numbers of single women with children, recent immigrants and disabled people, as well as unemployed people and the working poor. 1 in every 6 Canadian children, over 1.3 million kids, live in poverty.

Faltering Social Assistance:
In recent years our governments have faltered in the assistance that they extend to the needy. Unemployment and other social assistance payments have failed to keep pace with the living expenses of the poor, while at the same time changes in eligibility rules, shorter periods of benefit coverage and other austere changes have worsened their lot. Even the minimum wage laws, that were meant to protect the working poor, remained unchanged for years at a time.

Housing Cost Increases:      
Compounding the hardships faced by low-income households was the continuing rise of rental housing costs, for many their single largest living expense. This problem was compounded by a simultaneous shrinkage in the amount of rental accommodation available, and especially in the amount of affordable rental housing available.

The Food-Rent Dilemma:
One of the most disturbing aspects of the worsening situation faced by the poor is the trade-off between spending their limited income on shelter versus spending it on food.
These items, along with clothing, constitute the bare necessities of human survival. Food bank statistics for the past decade show a dramatic increase in the number of people who have been forced to use their services, some 750,000 per month nationally and almost 325,000 every month in Ontario, Canada’s most powerful and affluent province.

Affordable Housing Needs:
The needs of low-income households for clean, affordable housing has never been greater than it is today. Such housing provides the essential foundation upon which low-income households build their lives. Access to affordable housing blunts the need of the poor to make a food versus shelter trade-off, and enables them to devote more of their limited financial resources to meeting other pressing needs.




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