On the eve of the 2016 Toronto Budget release, residents and city-building organizations across Toronto have come together to urge City Council to implement the city’s recently adopted Poverty Reduction Strategy and kick-start action in four priority areas: jobs, children, housing and transit.
In a letter signed by leaders from over 50 civic organizations, including United Way Toronto & York Region, CivicAction, Toronto Foundation, and endorsed by the Toronto Region Board of Trade, groups urged Mayor John Tory and members of Toronto City Council to move on 49 recommendations that will advance the city’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. The recommendations came from hundreds of residents and community groups taking part in consultations through the Commitment 2 Community coalition and other networks, and by people who are seeing the impact of poverty on the ground and know what it’s going to take to tackle it.
Implementing these actions in 2016 would have concrete outcomes, including:
- Providing supportive housing for 1,000 individuals and families and making rents affordable for 7,000 households at risk of homelessness.
- Providing access to subsidized childcare for 1,500 children and families.
- Freezing adult fares until a low-income transit pass is introduced in 2017.
- Ensuring that people delivering city services, either directly or through contractors, have decent, stable jobs.
- Creating opportunity for people with lived experience to guide and work in city programs to ensure relevance and effectiveness.
As city councillors debate the budget, community leaders say it is critical that funding for poverty reduction build on programs that serve our communities, without cutting to the proven, effective services we need. City government should continue to work with the private sector, labour groups, and community organizations to restore hope, fairness, and opportunity for everyone in our city.