Social Audit Hearing Captures Lived Experiences of Poverty
Cornwall ON – What is it like to live in poverty? What is it like to not have enough to pay for food and rent? What is it like to have to resort to the local food bank? What is it like to tell your children you cannot afford to buy them new clothes? As part of a provincial Social Audit, people living in our area spoke out regarding their lived experiences of poverty at one of several province wide Hearings.
“The only money I have to budget is our grocery money. We don’t buy milk anymore. It’s just too expensive”.
Living in poverty is not just restricted to persons who are recipients of Ontario Works or of the Ontario Disability Support Program. People working hard in low paying jobs are also falling into poverty. As Ontario weathers the recession, more and more individuals and families are falling into poverty.
Michelle Gratton, Executive Director of The Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area who convened the Social Audit says “hearing the personal stories and testimonials from these individuals is absolutely heart breaking. It’s is extremely unfortunate that Our people from Our community have to resort to living a life of such desperation, panic, fear, and the constant feeling of unworthiness. Today however, these individual are admired…admired for staying strong and coming forward and speaking out.”
Social providers and local politicians also revealed their thoughts and concerns at the Social Audit. One local politician expressed that there are services available to those in need, such as short term emergency patches where individuals who are destitute can find lodging for two to three days and meet with coaches and social workers who may help them to get back on track.
“We’re putting them back on the ladder. It’s the bottom rung but it’s still on the ladder.”
In May 2010, participants from this and other provincial Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) Hearings will gather at Queen’s Park with others from across Ontario, to share their lived experiences of poverty with Members of the Provincial Parliament. ISARC hopes that these stories will move the Ontario government to realize that more needs to be done to eliminate poverty across our province.
The Social Audit is being sponsored by ISARC and is supported by religious leaders and other citizens from our area and across the province. Since 1986, ISARC has provided a means for faith communities to work together for social justice and to contribute to new public policies based on greater justice and dignity for Ontarians marginalized by poverty.
For further information, please contact:
Michelle Gratton, Executive Director
The Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area
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