Archive for 'In The Media'
Posted on 26. Oct, 2012 by Jeremy.
By Noor Javed
Toronto Star Staff Reporter
Behind the sprawling subdivisions and glossy condo towers being built in the GTA are the people who go unnoticed: The homeowner working two jobs to pay his mortgage, the single mother living in a basement apartment or the newcomer sharing a home with another family — or two
But policy makers and charitable organizations stress that because the problem is invisible, doesn’t mean it is non-existent.
In fact, it not only exists but in some cases — Markham-Unionville, Mississauga-Cooksville and Bramalea-Gore-Malton —poverty rates and child poverty rates are higher than the provincial average.
On Friday, Social Planning Toronto, the Alliance for a Poverty-Free Toronto and its sister alliances across region will release 53 riding profiles showing poverty goes beyond the downtown core.
“There is this perception that poverty is a Toronto problem, but this shows that there is poverty all across the Golden Horseshoe,” said John Campey, executive director of Social Planning Toronto.
“Who would expect that Markham would have highest rate of child poverty in York region?”
Posted on 04. Sep, 2012 by Jeremy.
Nearly 100 people attended a community forum on safety, violence prevention and community development organized by Social Planning Toronto’s York Office.
On Aug. 2, community workers, residents, police, and politicians gathered at Eglinton Hill Centre to listen to residents propose strategies for curbing recent incidences of violence.
“The conversation we need to have today is, what are the root causes of these issues?” said Lekan Olawoye, executive director of the For Youth Initiative in an opening address to the audience.
The format of the night encouraged passionate attendees to consult with each other in groups. They wrote down numerous strategies for change, many with a focus on reaching out to youth.
Residents suggested problems in their community included language barriers, lack of supports for youth in the education system, lack of meaningful job opportunities and reduced funding to community services and programming.
They advocated for better job opportunities, investment in programming directed at youth empowering youth, for continued communication among community members, and among many other things, confronting racism.
Silvana Hollingsworth, a senior who attended the forum, has lived in the community since the 1970s. She was happy to see everyone come together and hopes their input will resonate with politicians.
“I hope it reaches our political governments,” she said. “If the poorer minority, stigmatized community continues to be neglected, the guns, the crime, the drugs – it will not stop.”
Community planner Yasmin Haq-Khan organized the event in response to gun violence in the neighbourhood. In particular, she was concerned politicians were approaching the problem too narrowly, focusing mainly on policing. The meeting gave residents the opportunity to advocate for their own needs, she said.
Posted on 26. Jun, 2012 by Jeremy.
By Royson James
York University Professor Carl James has spent nearly two decades observing, studying, researching, advocating and trying to understand the people who live their lives around the axis of the neighbourhood known as Jane and Finch.
And he figures he’s only scratched the surface.
You probably have no such hesitation. After all, who hasn’t heard of Jane-Finch and constructed some reality based on its reputation?
Imagine living with that reputation, attending school there, listening to teachers who don’t connect to your landmarks or reference points, applying for jobs and afraid to list your real address, dealing with the prevailing view that this is a place to escape?
After decades of branding, stereotypes and stigmatization, the intersection has come to symbolize poverty, violence and despair. It’s our resident ghetto, Toronto’s answer to deep-seated American inner-city, multi-generational poverty, social housing, gangs and violence. That’s the careless conclusion based on uncritical and superficial observation.
How many citizens have driven through that intersection looking for the obvious signs of social dysfunction, only to drive along, thinking, “But, where is it, this Jane-Finch?”
While the drive-by fails to uncover the dysfunction, it also renders invisible the thousands of heroic citizens who scratch and claw to equip disadvantaged offsprings to survive and thrive.
Posted on 20. Jun, 2012 by Jeremy.
Community groups that use schools after hours say a whopping 41-per-cent increase in fees approved by the Toronto board threatens affordable sports and activities for city youth.
And they vow to fight the hike as they did with the City of Toronto, which also sought to bump up permit fees. Council eventually put off the hike for a year and agreed to consult with sports groups.
“Our group is very affected” by the Toronto District School Board’s move, said Dragan Zagar, who is president and a founder of the East York Soccer Club, which serves 2,500 kids.
With the city sure to increase fees next year, and the Toronto board’s hike — which comes into effect in January — it’s a double whammy.
“We put up a big fight (with the city), all the groups together,” Zagar added. “We stopped it for this year, and we’ll probably do the same thing for the school board.”
Posted on 12. Jun, 2012 by Jeremy.
Much talk on Monday about Tax Freedom Day in Canada; little or nothing about Destitution Day, June 7.
Heralded annually by the Fraser Institute, Tax Freedom Day purports to show how hard we work to put money in government coffers, whence it is presumably distributed to layabouts on welfare or otherwise wasted.
Theoretically, if we paid all our taxes up front, Tax Freedom Day — June 11 this year — would mark the point from which we’d start, finally, working for ourselves.
Some have criticized the methodology used by the conservative think tank, claiming it overstates the amount of taxes paid and understates Canadians’ income. But whether the institute is off by a month or two, its point is still the same. And the aggrieved will still cry “hands in my pocket.”
The group says a person, living at the poverty line in Toronto ($18,759) and receiving all social assistance ($8,145.96), would run out of money on June 7 — using the same theoretical conditions of paying all your bills up front.
Working with Social Planning Toronto, the group wants city council to help develop a poverty-reduction strategy. It says many councillors support the idea. One can imagine the apocalyptic howls from the corner office should this get added to the council agenda in this term.
But recent statistics, prepared by Social Planning Toronto, provide another set of examples of huge disparities in Canada’s largest and richest city.
The picture is presented ward by ward — from Rexdale in Etobicoke to the far reaches of Scarborough and down to the lake. Of the 2,615,060 people living in Toronto, 604,050 — almost a quarter of them — are living in poverty.