The Toronto Working Group on Poverty sent out an email call to all candidates in all wards to show their commitment to make a serious effort to address the alarming increase of poverty in our city. Backgrounders on poverty can be dound at the Social Planning Toronto website: http://socialplanningtoronto.org/ and details on the pledge can be found by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org if you did not receive it.
- Toronto is the second largest city in Canada in terms of economic productivity and growth
- ONE in FOUR = 25% of Toronto residents live in poverty (StatsCan LICO)
- Poverty rates are especially high for: recent immigrants (46%); aboriginal people (37%); single mothers (37%); people of colour (33%) and seniors (21%). Poverty in family groups is 21% in Toronto, the second highest in Canada.
- The gap between rich and poor is growing. Average incomes are dropping. cost of living, rents, food, etc is rising. You can see that everywhere.
- Poverty leads to poor health, social exclusion, suicides
I also know from personal experience that non-profit charity food banks are struggling terribly. Demand is skyrocketing and donations are dropping as more and more of us face financial stresses. We have hungry people everywhere - they are just invisible except in the lineups at local food banks all over the city. This is a key indicator of poverty. Check out information at The Daily Bread Food Bank: http://www.dailybread.ca/home/index.cfm
We need to be talking about poverty NOW. If we don't address the issues facing our neighbours, our friends and families - what is government good for? City building and city administration is NOT just about taxes and dollars.... it is about caring for fellow human beings.
We all need to stand up and speak out on this issue.... because:
DAVENPORT DESERVES BETTER !
* Update: "Food Drive in Davenport" story Inside Toronto http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/local/article/876229--food-drive-in-davenport
* Update: Hamilton is doing what Toronto should: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/262315--putting-poverty-on-the-agenda