Feed the Kids
AND

Pay the Rent Campaign

North Bay campaign page with local endorsements can be viewed at:
http://dawn.thot.net/rent.html

Facts

Average rent of private apartments

New to the siteTake Action

Sample Letters || en français || Sample Phone Scripts


Facts:

  • The average rent in Ottawa for a
    2-bedroom apartment is $914
    and a 3-bedroom apartment is $1,090

  • A single mother with one child
    receives a welfare cheque of $853

    $511
    is the most a single mother can
    get for the cost of housing
    ; Anything
    above $511 that is paid in rent
    must come out of FOOD money.

  • A couple with two children
    receives a welfare cheque of $1021.50

    $602
    is the most a couple with two
    children can can get for the cost of
    housing
    ; Anything above $602 that is
    paid in rent must come out of FOOD money.


    Average rent of private apartments


image of a woman


This means that for many families in Ontario
they have to CHOOSE between
Paying their Rent
or
Feeding their Children

Shouldn’t welfare pay for the average cost of rent?

 

Take Action

Raise the shelter allowance portion of Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program to average rent levels.

arrowPhone, fax or email your MPPs on July 17 and August 7 to deliver the message that social assistance rates must be raised so that everyone can pay the rent, feed themselves and if they have children, feed the kids.

Below are sample scripts and letters you can use. Choose the one that means the most to you, or better yet write a letter of your own, in your own hand. Politicians want to hear what YOU have to say about this issue and that’s what we are asking you to tell them.

Flood their phones, faxes and email accounts - it's time to Raise the Rates!

Name and contact information for your MPP is available at:


Sample Letters

en français
Sample Phone Scripts



Sample Letters

Date:

MPP Name:
Riding:
Street Address:
City, Province, Postal Code:
Fax Number:

Dear________________,

As one of your constituents, I am writing to stress the importance of raising the social assistance rates. People in Ontario are looking for a change, and I'm hoping you're going to be part of that change.

The average price of a two-bedroom apartment in the Ontario is $883, but a family of three living on social assistance receives only $554 to cover the cost of rent. Without enough money to pay for basic needs, families must make the terrible decision whether to pay the rent or feed the kids.

Children are going to school hungry and are unable to concentrate on learning in the classroom. Families with children are among the fastest growing groups of homeless. I believe strongly that the provincial government must take a leading role in addressing poverty in our communities. Raising social assistance rates is a small step in the right direction. I respectfully ask that you and your party commit to making this an issue in the provincial election, and commit to ensuring that people in Ontario don't have to choose between eating and keeping a roof over their head.

Sincerely,

Name:
Signature:
Address:



Date:

MPP Name:
Riding:
Street Address:
City, Province, Postal Code:
Fax Number:

Dear________________,

As a citizen living in your riding, I am concerned with the small amount of money people on social assistance are given to live on.

The cost of rent has gone up substantially in Ontario since 1995, while social assistance rates remain frozen. The average price of a two bedroom apartment in Ontario is $883, but a family of three living on Ontario Works receives only $554 to cover the cost of rent. Without enough money to pay for basic needs, families must make the terrible decision whether to pay the rent or feed the kids.

Over 40% of those requiring food banks in Ontario are children. This amounts to over 121,000 children in Ontario who live in such acute poverty that their families cannot afford food for them to eat.

I believe strongly that the provincial government needs to take a leading role in addressing poverty in our communities by raising social assistance rates to meet the cost of living. I respectfully ask that you and your party commit to making this an issue in the next provincial election.

Sincerely,

Name:
Signature:
Address:



Date:

MPP Name:
Riding:
Street Address:
City, Province, Postal Code:
Fax Number:

Dear________________,

As a citizen living in your riding, I am concerned with the small amount of money people on social assistance are given to live on.

The cost of rent has gone up substantially in Toronto since 1995, while social assistance rates remain frozen. The average price of a two bedroom apartment in the GTA is $1,047, but a family of three living on Ontario Works receives only $554 to cover the cost of rent.

Without enough money to pay for basic needs, families must make the terrible decision whether to pay the rent or feed the kids.

Children are going to school hungry and are unable to concentrate on learning in the classroom. Families with children are among the fastest growing groups of homeless in Toronto. Each month over 50,000 children rely on food banks.

I believe strongly that the provincial government needs to take a leading role in addressing poverty in our communities by raising social assistance rates to meet the cost of living. We also need to restore rent controls so that all people on fixed incomes can afford to live in this city. I respectfully ask that you and your party commit to making this an issue in the provincial election expected in the coming year.

Sincerely,

Name:
Signature:
Address:


Date:

MPP Name:
Riding:
Street Address:
City, Province, Postal Code:
Fax Number:

Dear________________,

I am writing this letter to you to express how difficult it is for me and my family to survive on social assistance. It is a struggle for me to pay my rent and have enough money left over to buy food.

This government has failed to ensure a decent income for those on assistance forcing many in the province to struggle to find food and basic necessities. It is important for me to be able to pay my rent, eat every day, and purchase basic necessities, which I am currently unable to do comfortably.

What would be valuable to me is to know that I have enough money from social assistance to pay my rent and have money left over for other expenses. In 1995, social assistance was reduced by 22% and has not increased since even though living expenses have increased dramatically since this time, especially the cost of rent. My rent takes up approximately _______% of my assistance cheque, which leaves little money left for anything else. It is
important to me that social assistance be increased to reflect the real cost of rent and living.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I understand how valuable your time is and I ask you to take this letter into consideration to ensure a decent future for myself and my family.

Sincerely,

Name:
Signature:
Address:



Date:

MPP Name:
Riding:
Street Address:
City, Province, Postal Code:
Fax Number:

Dear________________,

As a citizen living in your riding, I am concerned with the small amount of money people on social assistance are given to live on.

The average price of a two bedroom apartment in Ontario is $883, but a family of three living on social assistance receives only $554 to cover the cost of rent. Without enough money to pay for basic needs, families must make the terrible decision whether to pay the rent or feed the kids.

Children are going to school hungry and are unable to concentrate on learning in the classroom. Families with children are among the fastest growing groups of homeless.

In recent editorials, both the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun urged the provincial government to re-evaluate social assistance rates because of the increased cost of living in the last seven years.

I believe strongly that the provincial government needs to take a leading role in addressing poverty in our communities by raising social assistance rates to meet the cost of living. I respectfully ask that you and your party commit to making this an issue in the provincial election expected in the coming year.

Sincerely,

Name:
Signature:
Address:


Date:

MPP Name:
Riding:
Street Address:
City, Province, Postal Code:
Fax Number:

Dear________________,

I am writing this letter to you to express how difficult it is for me and my family to survive on social assistance. It has been a struggle for me to pay my rent and have enough money left over to buy food.

The current government has failed to ensure a decent income for those on assistance forcing many in the province to struggle to find food and basic necessities. It is important for me to be able to pay my rent, eat every day, and purchase basic necessities, which I am currently unable to do comfortably.

What would be valuable to me is the security of knowing that I have enough money from social assistance to pay my rent and meet my other basic living expenses. In 1995, social assistance was reduced by 22% and has not increased since, even though living expenses have increased dramatically since that time, especially the cost of rent. Currently, the average price of a two bedroom apartment in greater Toronto is $1,047 a month, and in Ontario is $883. Yet, a family of three living on social assistance receives only $554 each month to cover the cost of rent.

With high rents taking up most of my assistance cheque I have little money for anything else. It is important to me that social assistance be increased to reflect the real cost of rent and living.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I understand how valuable your time is and I ask you to take this letter into consideration to ensure a decent future for myself and my family.

Sincerely,
Name:
Signature:
Address:


Date:

Nom de votre député(e):
Nom de votre circonscription:
Adresse du/de la député(e):
Ville, province et code postal:
Numéro de télécopieur:

Madame ou Monsieur __________,

J’aimerais que cette lettre vous aide à comprendre les difficultés que ma famille et moi devons affronter pour survivre avec nos prestations d’aide sociale. Nous devons nous débrouiller chaque mois pour payer le loyer et pour acheter de la nourriture avec le peu d’argent qui reste.

Le gouvernement actuel n’a pas réussi à assurer un revenu suffisant aux bénéficiaires d’aide sociale de notre province. Plusieurs d’entre nous avons grand’peine à trouver de la nourriture, un logement et les choses essentielles à la vie. Il est essentiel pour moi d’arriver à payer mon loyer, à manger chaque jour et à combler mes autres besoins essentiels.

J’aurais vraiment besoin de pouvoir compter sur un montant d’aide sociale suffisant pour payer le loyer ET avoir de l’argent pour couvrir d’autres dépenses. Les coupures de 22% imposées à l’aide sociale en 1995 n’ont été
suivies d’aucune mise à jour des prestations. Pourtant, le coût de la vie n’a cessé d’augmenter depuis, en particulier le coût des loyers. Je reçois $______ par mois en allocation logement, et mon loyer est de $______. Cela
me force à dépenser l’argent de la nourriture pour mon loyer. J’ai absolument besoin que les prestations d’aide sociale soient rajustées pour refléter le coût réel des loyers.

Merci d’avoir pris le temps de lire ma lettre. Je comprends que votre temps est précieux et je vous demande d’accorder à ma demande l’attention nécessaire, afin de nous assurer à moi et ma famille un avenir décent.

Sincèrement,

Nom:
Adresse:
Ville:
Code postal:



Sample Phone Scripts



For OW or ODSP recipients:

Hello. My name is and I am a voter in this riding. I also receive social assistance benefits in the form of (mention Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Plan). I am very concerned about the current government’s decision not to increase the social assistance rates. Shelter allowances need to be immediately raised to reflect the real cost of rent in each Ontario city. If elected, I expect your government to treat all Ontarians with dignity and respect, and I ask that you take my concerns back to your party and let your party know that increasing the social assistance rates will win them support in the next election.

For Everyone Concerned

Hi, my name is and I am a voter in this riding. I am very concerned about the current government’s decision not to increase the social assistance rates in Ontario. Shelter allowances need to be immediately raised to reflect the real cost of rent in each Ontario city. If elected, I expect your government to treat all Ontarians with dignity and respect, and I ask that you take my concerns back to your party and let your party know that increasing the social assistance rates will win them support in the next election.

If you would like a response from your MPP, finish with:

…Please let me know how you intend to support social assistance recipients. (Leave a number where you can be reached)


After the first week, simply call back and say:

Hi, this is _______ . I called last week and I want you to
know that I am still concerned about social assistance
rates in Ontario.

Above sample letters and telephone script were converted to HTML from the Pay The Rent Lobby Kit distributed as a PDF file.

For more information or to request a copy of the Pay The Rent Lobby Kit, please contact Tracy at Daily Bread Food Bank:

Tel: 416 203 0050 Ext 289
Email: lobby@paytherent.ca
URL: www.paytherent.ca

Campaign Created by:
Somerset West Action Network (SWAN)
provincial campaign coordinator: Candice Beale

 

Campaign Endorsed by:

Advocacy Centre for Tenants - Ontario (ACTO)
ACTO – working to better the housing situation of low-income Ontario residents

Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)

http://www.equalityrights.org/cera


DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women’s Network Ontario
http://dawn.thot.net
a provincial, feminist, cross-disability, organization working towards access, equity, and
full participation of Women with disAbilities through public education, coalition-building,
research, self-advocacy, resource development, information & communication technology.

Housing and Homelessness Network Ontario (HHNO)

Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
ISAC – addressing systemic issues relating to income security

North Bay Network for Social Action
http://dawn.thot.net/nnsa
a coalition who has united to promote social & economic justice
by increasing solidarity & the sharing of information & strategies for progressive change

Ontario Coalition for Social Justice
http://www.ocsj.ca

Ontario Social Safety Network (OSSN)
http://www.welfarewatch.toronto.on.ca/wrkfrw/ossn.html
OSSN a network of faith groups, labour unions, anti-poverty groups, legal clinics,
and interested individuals who share information and strategies that effect low income people

Somerset West Action Network (SWAN)
(SWAN created the Feed the Kids AND Pay the Rent Campaign)
SWAN is a group of people living in poverty, friends, and allies,
working toward economic justice.

Toronto Disaster Relief Committee
http://www.tao.ca/~tdrc/

The Workfare Watch Project
http://www.welfarewatch.toronto.on.ca/

Provincial Partners:
Advocacy Centre for Tenants - Ontario (ACTO),
Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario (ACLCO),
Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC),
Campaign 2000,
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA),
DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario,
Income Security Advocacy Cenre (ISAC),
Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC),
Housing and Homelessness Network of Ontario (HHNO),
Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH),
Ontario Association of Food Banks,
Ontario Coalition for Social Justice,
Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops,
Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA),
Ontario Federation of Labour,
Ontario Non- Profit Housing Association,
RAINET, Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC),
Ontario Social Safety Network (OSSN),
Somerset West Action Network (SWAN),
UNITE Ontario Council,
The Workfare Watch Project and the City of Toronto

Picture and above text obtained from poster designed by volunteer union labour.
Printing donated by the National Union of Public and General Employees
(to see reproduction of original poster in HTML follow this link)


Average rent of private apartments
in structures of three units or more (Oct. 2001)
Source: CMHC 2001

Area
2-bdrm
3-bdrm
Ontario Works -
Maximum Housing $
511
602
 
Barrie
881
1,023
Belleville
651
732
Bracebridge
678
734
Brantford
653
711
Cobourg
712
808
Collingwood
677
664
Guelph
764
908
Hamilton
740
909
Huntsville
708
774
Kingston
709
862
Kitchener
722
881
London
683
847
North Bay
645
696
Oshawa
799
900
Ottawa
914
1,090
Owen Sound
636
665
Peterborough
698
831
St. Catherines-Niagara
680
757
Sarnia
610
783
Sault Ste. Marie
613
655
Stratford
664
769
Sudbury
620
694
Thunder Bay
657
819
Toronto
1,027
1,214
Windsor
738
873


Women & Housing in Canada: Barriers to Equality
Report by CERA - Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation
Women’s Housing Program

Back to DAWN Ontario homepage

 

About ACTO and ISAC

The Advocacy Center for Tenants – Ontario (ACTO) and the Income Security Advocay Centre - ISAC (formerly the Income Security Legal Clinic - ISLC) are both located in downtown Toronto and opened in September 2001.

Each of the clinics has its own independent board of directors, with representation from across the province, and acts as a resource to and a partner with all clinics across the province. These clinics do not perform direct client intake, but will serve clients who are referred from other clinics and from organizations with similar goals.

ACTO – working to better the housing situation of low-income Ontario residents

The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) is a province-wide legal clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario. ACTO works with legal clinics and advocacy organizations concerned about housing issues.

ACTO's law reform and advocacy work will focus on cases and campaigns that have a broad impact on the housing issues facing low-income tenants, co-op members and persons who are homeless.

ACTO works with other social justice organizations on lobbying and law reform, housing policy work, community organizing and public legal education.

ACTO does not provide direct service to individuals. Direct service is provided by community legal clinics in each area of the province - see legal aid ontario.

 

ISAC – addressing systemic issues relating to income security

The Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) has a vision of social programs and broader government policies which ensure income security and an adequate standard of living for all Ontarians.

ISAC accepts referrals from clinics and community organizations across the province and is developing case selection policies. The clinic conducts test case and Charter litigation pertaining to income security issues affecting Ontario's low income community. Legal work will take place in the context of law reform, public legal education and community development. In the short term, the clinic hopes to address the perpetutation of poverty resulting from the rules and administration of income security programs. In the longer term, the clinic's focus will be on government policies which not only perpetuate but create poverty.

The clinic is particularly hoping to work in partnership with other clinics and with community based organizations. In one of its first substantive cases, ISAC has joined with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) and a private bar lawyer to take up a class action/charter application pertaining to the automatic deduction of monies from social benefits payable to sponsored immigrants.

For more information about ACTO or ISAC, and their referral policies, please contact the clinic:

ACTO
Telephone: 416-597-5855
Toll Free: 1-866-245-4182

ISAC
Telephone: 416-597-5820
Toll Free: (866) 245-4072

website: http://www.incomesecurity.org


Ontario Social Safety Network (OSSN)

The Ontario Social Safety NetWork (OSSN) is a provincial organization formed to fight attacks on the social programs that make up our "social safety net" and to support progressive social policy change.

The NetWork includes low income individuals, anti-poverty groups, faith communities, people with disabilities, labour groups, legal clinics and individuals.

The NetWork is dedicated to sharing information about changes to social security programs, developing strategies for response and sharing these across Ontario, analyzing law reform proposals and sharing this information with the community, and to developing positive law reform proposals that will protect and respect vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

Contact: Susan Eagle (519) 434-7173 or Nancy Vander Plaats (416) 438-7206
Email: wlfrwtch@welfarewatch.toronto.on.ca
URL: (old site: http://www.welfarewatch.toronto.on.ca/wrkfrw/ossn.html) or http://dawn.thot.net/ossn


Workfare Watch Project

Workfare Watch is a joint project of the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto and the Ontario Social Safety NetWork. It was established in 1996 to monitor and report on the implementation of workfare policies in Ontario and their impact.

Workfare Watch provides a research-based analysis of provincial workfare policy proposals, program plans and implementation. The purpose of the project is to ensure that any welfare-to-work measures undertaken by the provincial government respect the rights and dignity of workers and social assistance recipients.

Workfare Watch Project
c/o Community Social Planning Council of Toronto
2 Carlton Street, Suite 1001
Toronto, M5B 1J3
(416) 351-0095

Andrew Mitchell
email: andrew.mitchell4@sympatico.ca

 

Page created March 27, 2002
last updated July 9, 2003

back to DAWN Ontario site