End of benefit troubles those living in poverty
Community Start-Up Benefit helps pay for things like moving costs, new furniture or dealing with bedbug infestations
Posted: Oct 11, 2012 9:01 AM ET
Last Updated: Oct 15, 2012 3:16 PM ET
A frontline worker on a northern Ontario First Nation says the end of the provincial Community Start-Up Benefit will disproportionately affect people living on reserves.
People on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program can apply for up to $799 once every two years to pay for things like moving costs, bedbug infestations, and new furniture.
It can also help people find or maintain housing.
The benefit will end in January 2013 after it was cut in the last provincial budget.
A social assistance case worker on the Batchewana First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie estimated 90 per cent of the people living on the First Nation are on Ontario Works, meaning that they're also able to access the benefit program.
"It's making our jobs really hard because we're the front line workers,” Charlotte Zack said.
“We're the ones who have to tell the clients, 'no we can't help you' because of the cuts the government is making."
Zack was among more than 100 people who attended an anti-poverty town hall meeting in Sudbury Wednesday night.
The main topic of discussion was the loss of the provincial benefit.
Other circumstances under which people are eligible for the fund include if their utilities are about to be cut off or if they're leaving an institution that provides for their basic needs and shelter.
'It's not fair'
Brian Arnelien said benefit helped change his life.
"It's helped me get a place, it's helped me get a degree, I got a whole bunch of support,” he said.
"If I need another place to live, where am I going to get that type of money? It's not fair."
A spokesperson with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty said his group will be organizing events across the province to encourage people to apply for the community start up benefit while they still can.
"One of the things that we're looking to do is maximize access to this benefit right now,” John Clarke said.
“So we're looking to create a situation where the people who are actually affected by this and their allies stand up and say 'this is intolerable' and challenge the government."
For its part, the provincial government said the fund will be replaced by a new housing and homelessness program that will use half of the funding from the old community start up benefit.
Latest Sudbury News Headlines
- Concrete fell months before Elliot Lake mall collapse
- Testimony at the inquiry looking into the fatal roof collapse at the mall in Elliot Lake has raised questions about whether some at city hall put financial concerns ahead of safety. more »
- Boaters not getting message about life jackets: OPP
- Boaters are still not getting the message about life jackets says OPP Inspector Mark Andrews. more »
- Construction to start on Sudbury water sports centre
- Sudbury's canoe club is preparing for what it hopes will be the last summer in its current building, as construction is expected to begin on the multi-million-dollar Northern Water Sports Centre. more »
- Federal Court won't remove MPs over election robocalls
- The Federal Court didn't throw six MPs out of their seats over allegations of widespread vote suppression through automated robocalls in the 2011 federal election. But Judge Richard Mosley did find that fraud occurred, linked to the Conservative Party's database. more »
Top News Headlines
- Will Rob Ford's supporters leave Ford Nation?
- The growing controversy over a purported video alleging to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine may be testing the faith of even his most die-hard supporters. But experts say Ford's policies may trump whatever personal issues he's facing, and that his supporters may rally behind him. more »
- Royal Bank pledges not to outsource jobs for cash savings
- Royal Bank has promised it will never outsource a Canadian job to a foreign worker solely to save money. more »
- Neil Macdonald: How serious is Obama about curbing the drone surge?
- In a key speech this week, the U.S. president set out a host of supposed new safeguards for America's controversial practice of remote-controlled rough justice. But as Neil Macdonald writes, the underlying rationale for drone use has not fundamentally changed. more »
- Making The Mandela Tapes
- Producer Robin Benger describes how he obtained broadcast access to interviews Nelson Mandela recorded in the 1990s. A CBC Radio Ideas program on the Mandela tapes airs May 28. more »
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denies using crack cocaine
- The mayor of Canada's largest city told a packed news conference that he doesn't use crack cocaine and isn't a crack addict. more »