67% of people coming to a food bank in the GTA get their main source of income from either one of Ontario two’s social assistance programs: Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program. Relying on social assistance as a main source of income almost guarantees food bank use. We would like to see this change.
As part of the Ontario government’s 2008 Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Province committed to a review of the social assistance system in Ontario. In 2010, the Social Assistance Review Advisory Council, chaired by Daily Bread’s Gail Nyberg, set out the scope and terms of reference of the review. Later that year the Commission was appointed. The two Commissioners: Francis Lankin, former head of the United Way of Greater Toronto, and Munir Sheikh, former head of Statistics Canada, would like your feedback.
Visit the Commission’s website here: http://www.socialassistancereview.ca/home.
Fill out a submission, make a comment or host a roundtable. Your submissions will help them outline what needs to be done to make social assistance work better. The final recommendations will be released in July 2012.
Learn more about poverty, social assistance and hunger by visiting our publications page:http://www.dailybread.ca/learning-centre/
Learn more from people with lived experience about the issues they experience and the changes they would like to see: http://peoplesblueprint.ca/
Despite an improving economy, people visiting food banks in the Greater Toronto Area are still struggling. The Hunger Snapshot report, released today, shows that food bank clients spend 72 per cent of their income on housing costs. When families are struggling to make ends meet and have to make a choice between paying the rent and putting food on the table, it is usually food that is sacrificed.
“Families can eat less food when money is tight, but they can’t pay less rent. A Housing Benefit would be a monthly benefit that would help support people on low incomes,” says Gail Nyberg, Executive Director at Daily Bread Food Bank. “Everyone deserves a roof over their heads and food on the table and a Housing Benefit will help both of those things happen.”
A recently released report by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association shows that the number of people who are on the waiting list for social housing continues to increase as people struggle to find affordable housing. According to Richard Matern, Acting Director of Research at Daily Bread Food Bank, the amount left over per person per day after housing costs are paid is $5.67 – that’s less than the amount a person would need for two cash fare trips on the TTC in Toronto.
The full report on the results of the annual survey will be released on September 21, 2011, at the beginning of Daily Bread Food Bank’s Fall Drive. Some early results can be found in the Hunger Snapshot, available online at http://www.dailybread.ca/hunger-snapshot-2011/. You can also visitwww.dailybread.ca/learning-centre/housing-benefit to find out more on a proposed Ontario Housing Benefit and how you can help make it a reality.
Other statistical highlights in the Hunger Snapshot include:
- Median monthly income of a food bank client: $925
- Percentage of food bank clients who are children: 36%
- Percentage of adults who go hungry at least once a week: 40%
- Percentage of food bank clients who are receiving social assistance: 67%
- Percentage of food bank clients who have a disability: 46%