CAMPAIGN TO RETAIN CSUMB
The Ontario Liberal Government announced elimination of the Community
Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) and its removal from Ontario Works and
the Ontario Disability Support Program as of January 1, 2013.
Anti-poverty groups want to stop the government from cutting CSUMB because it will affect the amount of money available to municipalities to prevent homelessness. It has been used to pay first and last, clear arrears that would have led to eviction, paid utility bills for people in difficulty, and other helps to keep families housed.
Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG) invites Peel activists to contact Anthony Tambureno
PPAG also sent the letter below to all members of municipal councils in Peel, and copied in all newspapers, TV and radio stations on its list.
OPEN LETTER TO MUNICIPAL COUNCIL MEMBERS IN PEEL REGION
From January 1, 2013, the Ontario provincial Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) will be discontinued. This benefit – about $5.5m for Peel in 2012 — helped prevent homelessness by, for instance, assisting with first and last month’s rent, help with rent arrears, help with arrears in utility bills, furniture items for new tenants. About 800 Peel residents a month needed the fund.
Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG) estimates that with the end of CSUMB and other changes, Peel will receive about $3m less for homelessness prevention, at a time when social service organizations in the Region believe homelessness is on the rise.
Some of the provisions of new legislation may be helpful: Homelessness now comes under one provincial ministry instead of two; during 2013, several programs will be merged in hopes of providing better service.
But Peel will remain $3m worse off. Though Region staff report they can save more than $1m “through changes to policy,” PPAG sees reduced funding as greater danger for people who are or may become homeless.
Peel gets less money for social services per capita than other areas of Ontario. We ask municipal councillors to join PPAG and other anti-poverty groups in lobbying MPPs and others to maintain or increase the money available to fight homelessness. Death in the woods is not unknown in Peel. We want no more.
LETTER OF SUPPORT received from Mississauga Coun. Pat Saito, who said she agreed 100% with with PPAG.
Thursday, 13 September, 2012
DELEGATION TO PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL
DEVELOPMENT CHARGES/CORPORATE ELECTION FUNDING
Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG) appeared as a delegation at Peel Regional Council today to talk about development charges, and corporate funding of municipal candidates’ elections.
PPAG Chair Edna Toth told councillors:
Peel Poverty Action Group tries to speak for people who are homeless, who are using food banks, who are struggling.
We are speaking today to developers as well as councillors
You know that more than 1,000 people a month use shelters in Peel Region.
The one soup kitchen in Peel that is open every day of the year, is busier than ever.
15,000 families may spend up to 20 years on the waiting list for homes they can afford.
Council is negotiating with developers to bring in more money from development charges to cover the costs of infrastructure.
We hope that councillors will use this opportunity to guide the development industry toward building homes that working people can afford.
Peel Poverty Action Group feels that such guidance will be better provided if councillors no longer take money from corporations, many of whom are developers, to cover their election expenses.
Corporate support is a longstanding practice and it is not against the law.
We are not suggesting that councillors votes are influenced by campaign contributions.
However, corporate and trade union contributions to election campaigns are forbidden at federal level, and forbidden at provincial level in Nova Scotia, Manitoba and the Province of Quebec.
At municipal level, Toronto banned corporate and union funding effective in the 2010 election.
Peel Poverty Action Group has presented on the topic of corporate election giving to the three municipal councils.
Caledon has a mere $44,150 involved.
Mississauga had $153,260 corporate and union money in the 2010 election, and has sent the issue of campaign donations to its Governance Committee for study.
Brampton has twice as much money in play as Mississauga at $358,845. Part of the reason is that Mayor McCallion does not take corporate or any other donations from anybody at all for her election campaign. She runs. She wins. She is the proof that councillors don’t need corporate money.
We would like to save corporations the more than half-million dollars that they spend on election donations.
Peel Poverty Action Group asks Regional Council and the three municipalities to request the Ontario Government change the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, Section 70, subsection 3, so as to ban union/corporate donations to election campaigns in Peel Region. And subsequently for the municipalities to approve enabling bylaws.
Such a law would leave Peel’s corporate donors with a half-million dollars of unused cash.
In case that is a problem, local charities are hungry for money to pay for meals.
Monday, 19 September, 2011
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS
Three candidates in the provincial election taking place October 6, 2011, slept out in the rain and cold last night (Monday and Tuesday, 19-20 September, 2011) to get some idea of what it is like to be homeless.
The three are Michelle Bilek, New Democratic Party candidate in Mississauga-Erindale, Patti Chmelyk of the Green Party and Dalbir Kathuria, New Democrat, both running in Brampton West.
The verdict from the three: “We have some idea of being without shelter. But it was just for one night.”
The three took up a challenge from Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG), to all candidates in the nine ridings in the Region of Peel, to be homeless for one night. PPAG members include people who are struggling, plus organizations and social service workers who try to help them. PPAG makes presentations to all levels of government, and affordable housing has been a continuing subject.
About 1,000 people a month use homeless shelters in Peel. More than 15,500 families are on the waiting list for homes they can afford — and they may wait 20 years.
“We talked a lot of politics during the night,” Chmelyk reported. “People without shelter have many problems – they don’t eat properly, often they are socially isolated, and that is just the beginning. Shelter is key.”
Bilek, who has university degrees in psychology, sociology, and women’s studies, recalled a period when she lived in her car. “You live from moment to moment – where will I wash, where will I eat – long term planning to get out of poverty just can’t take place,” she said.
Kathuria, his turban soaked from a night in the rain, noted: “Many people spend a week, months, a lifetime, living in the woods, in the rain or snow, surviving as we did for one night. This should not be happening in Canada.”
The three slept in a wooded area in a Brampton park, identified as a squat by Daniel Cullen, who was without a home for 25 years, but is now adequately housed.
Bilek, Chmelyk and Kathuria are back on the hustings today, canvassing, knocking on doors, seeking votes that will put them into Queen’s Park, to address the problems of homelessness through government.