Poor ‘under attack by the city’ — SCAP

TheSudburyStar.com – news/local
May 28, 2013.   Kayla Perry

People on social assistance are “under attack by the City of Sudbury,” says the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty.

Officials with SCAP made the accusation after receiving the Sudbury Community Homelessness Preventative Initiative guidelines — ones that, according to the coalition, are outrageous.

When the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit was eliminated Jan. 1 by the Liberal government, the province announced that, of the $120-million in funds for benefit, half the money would be transferred to municipalities to be used for the Community Homelessness Preventative Initiative.

That program is used to provide emergency funding for circumstances that cause a family or person to leave their home. The money pays rent and buys items such as beds.

In Sudbury, people qualify for Community Homelessness Preventative Initiative for a number of reasons: a catastrophic event, domestic violence, leaving a shelter, or being discharged from an institution such as a hospital.

However, the reason SCAP is so outraged is due to the vast differences between Community Homelessness Preventative Initiative funding in Toronto and Sudbury.

While a single person in Toronto who needs to leave their home receives $800, a single Sudbury resident receives $200. For anyone in Toronto leaving with children, the funding is raised to $1,500, while in Sudbury, families are granted $300.

Gary Kinsman, a widely known coalition member in Sudbury, said “there is no way you could sustain yourself or your family for two or three hundred dollars — it is completely unjustified.”

City officials did not return phone calls asking for comment.

Critics say the money is needed to help protect the city’s most vulnerable.

“These cuts are devastating and will leave people living in poverty without any means of replacing or starting up a household. It will lead to an increase in homelessness and hardship and will further threaten the health of people on social assistance,” Clarissa Lassaline, a SCAP member, said in a release.

“It doesn’t matter if you have just lost everything you own or are fleeing violence or have just been released from an institution. The maximum you will get is $200-$300. This is arbitrary, mean spirited and punitive.”

Lassaline said the more the coalition can raise awareness, the more likely it is results will be obtained.

SCAP members will appear before city council on June 18, to present their arguments and demand more funding.

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