Social Audit Hearing Captures Lived Experiences of Poverty – Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area – May 7, 2010

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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  1. These people are so full of crap. Here is what happens. You become ill, ie cancer.
    The doctor deems you disabled. Before you can qualify for Ontario Disability you must spend 3 months with Ontario works. So, you follow the correct procedure. During my radiation, because my rent was $675.00/month, and Ontario works pay’s 525.00/month, they send you a notice to evict you from the rental property due to high rent. Keep in mind all through this I am taking 30 session’s of radiation. I was sick.
    When the time comes to move, Ontario works allows $800.00 every 2 years. The cost to move 400km was quoted at $3000.00.
    Now, here is the kicker. If you end up living on the street with no address, then, Ontario works only pays $200.00/month.
    For myself, I was fortunate to have great family and friends who were there to assist me. Had I not had a good support system, I would have been forced to recover from cancer on the streets of Oshawa.
    Now folks, how proud are you to hear just a smidgen of how our system treats those suffering from an illness. I have worked all my life from shoveling snow as a child, to being gainfully employed for most of my adult life. If you don’t think this can happen to you or a loved one, please think again.

  2. Willie, while I have no issue with the group posting this story I can completely emphasize with your post. Social Engineering is live and well sadly in our society. If you as a cog don’t fit into the machinery then there’s no reason to keep you around. “You” being the proverbial “you’ of course.

    I feel very sad for the future of humanity as we know it in many ways.

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