Last year, thousands of residents spoke out, calling on City Council to save the Hardship Fund – a fund that provides emergency medical supports to 1,500 sick and poor residents, 93% seniors. Because you acted, City Council saved the fund — but only for 2012. Once again the fund is slated for cancellation in December 2012. At the October 30/31 City Council meeting, Council needs to pass a motion to ensure the fund is fully funded in 2013 and continues on an ongoing basis.
Please help to save the Hardship Fund by contacting your city councillor today!
Who’s your city councillor and what’s his/her contact info? Find out here: http://app.toronto.ca/wards/jsp/wards.jsp
About the Hardship Fund and the Staff Report Coming to City Council on October 30/31
In the City’s own words, the Hardship Fund “serves primarily poor seniors who face potentially life threatening situations if they cannot obtain needed medical items.” Medical items provided through the fund include incontinence supplies, prosthetics, hospital beds, medications and the like. While the fund represents a small budget line for the City at $1 million, about 60 cents on the average property tax bill, it is a life-saver for 1,500 vulnerable residents. Medical items include incontinence supplies, prosthetics, hospital beds, medications and the like.
During the 2012 budget process, the Hardship Fund was slated for cancellation. But thousands spoke out against the cancellation. Fortunately, Councillor Palacio moved a motion to save the Hardship Fund, which was backed by Executive Committee members, and supported by many (if not all) fellow councillors. However, Councillor Palacio’s motion was subsequently interpreted by staff as only a temporary reprieve for the fund in 2012. We need City Council to save the fund again, and this time for good.
At the October 30/31 Council meeting, City Council will vote on item EX23.15 Changes to Provincial Funding Approaches for Homeless Prevention and Social Assistance Programs: Implementation Strategies and Issues. This staff report includes an update on the City’s Hardship Fund, making clear that there are no plans to continue the fund beyond December 2012. We are asking City Council to amend the recommendations in EX23.15 to include a motion that directs the City Manager to ensure that the Hardship Fund is fully funded in 2013 City budget and that it continue to operate consistent with current City guidelines. Further, it is crucial that the fund continue on an ongoing basis – rather than having to be saved year after year.
Last year, together we saved the fund for 2012. We need your help again to ensure that City Council acts immediately to save the fund, for good this time. If Council does not provide this direction now, staff will begin to take measures to shut down the program for December 31, with an immediate effect on vulnerable residents.
Poor and ill seniors need to know that the Hardship Fund is going to be there for them in 2013. Thanks for contacting your city councillor today!
For more information, contact Beth Wilson, Social Planning Toronto – email@example.com or 416-351-0095 x257