An Awful Choice: Pay Rent or Buy Groceries?

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That’s a small price to pay for the benefits that come from addressing the causes, rather than the symptoms, of food insecurity and poverty.


923004_10151331384711890_1479766938_nMy thoughts on this recent issue by the Homeless Hub are:  After relocating to Renfrew in September 2009 I had to apply to Ontario Works whom requested during the application process my credit history, at that time I was told if I didn’t supply one, my application would be denied, and or they would request one from Equifax Canada so I honoured their request.

On November 28, 2009 I started a position at a local Hardwood floor Candy-Cane-christmas-candy-cane-smiley-emoticon-000944-largemanufacturer in Renfrew subsidized by Ontario Works. On Dec 29, 2009 after being severely harassed by staff and employees I was fired.

Mostly confined to relying on Food Banks, over the course of the next couple of months I tried desperately to get assistance from Ontario Works to relocate to Ottawa to search for employment which were all denied. After obtaining employment at Richcraft in Ottawa through Handyman personnel (Whom would also later fire me) On May 1, 2010 I relocated to Gatineau, QC using my monthly benefits from Ontario Works.

goal-gayWhy? because while looking for accommodations in Ottawa I discovered that rents were at least 30% lower in Gatineau than Ottawa. Now when you see that big a difference in two cities less than one KM apart, this only goes to prove and makes it more than obvious that Canada lacks legislation on “RENT CONTROL” again affecting the number one “Global Goal for Sustainable Development NO POVERTY”. ~ Terry.K

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5350942483415040This week’s infographic takes a look at the relationship that exists between affordable housing and food accessibility. The infographic comes from a series published by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) that were designed to help raise awareness christmas-tree-3about Canada’s affordable housing crisis. ONPHA is the voice of non-profit housing in Ontario, and the organization regularly works with its members to provide tools to develop and deliver high-quality affordable housing in the province

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Christmas-Smiley2The infographic states that housing is the single largest expense in most families’ budgets. As a result, families living with insufficient income are forced to choose between paying rent and buying groceries. According to a report by Campaign 2000 released last year, the average food bank client spends over 70% of their income on housing. The infographic also establishes that food bank use has rapidly increased in recent years. Food bank use in Ontario has increased by 45% over the past 20 years. A significant portion of this increase has happened very recently, particularly in 2014 the number of households using food banks increased by 20% for the first time.

Across Canada, food bank use has also been rising in recent years. From 2008-2014, Manitoba saw a 52.5% increase in the number ofsanta food bank users. Similar increases were observed in Saskatchewan (51.1%) and Alberta (48.2%). Canadian territories, in turn, have seen a 247% increase over the same period.

The Daily Bread Food Bank, the largest food emergency centre in Canada, recently surveyed clients to get a better understanding of what was driving growing food bank imagesuse in the GTA. The organization found that after paying for rent, clients had an average of just $6.13 per day remaining for additional expenses. That’s just $6.13 left over to cover meals a day, transportation needs and any other expenses. Over 40% of respondents of the same survey who were receiving social assistance stated that there were times when they did not eat for an entire day.

When discussing what steps can be taken to address food insecurity, the conversation needs to be about more than just increasing funding for existing36_15_2_28401 food bank services. Housing, food insecurity and poverty and inextricably linked for families struggling to afford housing. By investing more in affordable housing, Canada is in turn helping to address issues of food insecurity.

merry-xmas-smiley-emoticonchristmas-tree-3Affordable housing investments can be viewed as a preventative approach against homelessness. While preventative approaches often require greater investment and commitment in the short-term.

That’s a small price to pay for the benefits that come from addressing the causes, rather than the symptoms, of food insecurity and poverty.


5350942483415040Vineeth Sekharan is an undergraduate student in a psychology major at York University. His interest in the elimination of barriers to accessing vital services like housing and healthcare led him to work as a research student with The Homeless Hub. Vineeth’s other research interests include epidemiology, theories of power and persuasion, and literacy education. In his spare time, he likes to read a lot, write here and there, and then read some more.


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One thought on “An Awful Choice: Pay Rent or Buy Groceries?

  1. Reblogged this on Fairy JerBear's Queer/Trans News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
    This issue disproportionately hits home for many poor LGBTQ people and people with disabilities may have one other expense to juggle; medication and other health related expenses. Trans people who are poor (disproportionately people of color), also have expenses associated with transition or maintenance such as hormone replacement therapy which adds another expense to juggle,

    Liked by 1 person

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