Monday, July 23, 2007

Realities of living on 12.21 a Day in Toronto

I live off 12.21 cents every day, that is after my rent and utilites are paid. Roo is in that one out of every four childern here in Canada that live in poverty. Here in Canada the poverty line is 20,900 for a family of two. My income last year even when you added in Child TAx Benefits and Child Support and GST checks clocked in just over $14,000. So you can see we live well below that line. There is an election on the way here in Ontario and one of the issues that has to be addressed is how many children in this province who are exactly like Roo live in poverty.

Here are the harsh realities for a child in poverty in Canad's biggest city:
  • FOOD- you simply dont eat well, yes I try and see that we follow Canada's food guide but that is an almost an impossiblity. When it gets to a few days before your next check your cupboards are bare, and yes I have gone without so she eats. You also end up carb loading and dont get enough protien cause you go for the cheapest. There are some times when you have had to resort to a food bank, and you feel humiliated and ashamed everytime you do.
  • Housing- we live in a small one bedroom basement apartment in East York. Good neighbourhood,thank goodness but this means very little space to call our own. I gave Roo the bedroom and my back has not seen a real bed in well so long Im forgetting what one would feel like. I sleep on a 1960's pullout couch.
  • Clothing-new clothes are a rarity, most of yours come from Value Village but you are okay with that, but sometimes things like underwear, socks and shoes must be bought new.
  • No Vacations-In Roo's 9 years she has seen one weekend camping trip and that has been the extent of vacation time for us. That trip was 4 summers ago.
  • You dont get to do things that kids normally do like swim lessons, dance lessons, clubs etc because well your mom doesnt have the money to allow for those.
  • Dental care, the basics are covered for Roo but it has left me with about $4,000 of URGENTLY needed dental care still not done, this isnt covered by our government, only extractions for adults are.
  • You have to plan carefully what you can do to try to have FUn in the city, you try to get out to some of the FREE events around town, but then you have to remember that busfare for you and Roo amounts to $7 for a round trip, so most times you can only go to where you can walk to.
  • You have only 2 tv channels, no cable, your internet connection is your only luxury.
  • Some times you dont even you to church because you dont have the busfare.

These are just some of the issues that the poor in the city of Toronto and in the province of Ontario live with, so if you rad this and are voting in the upcoming election please note where your canidate falls on services to the poor.

And dont get me started on childhood mental health care or the cutting of 500 EA's here in Toronto this year....those too are major election issues!


Sandra said...

Thanks for introducing me to your wonderful blog and also for so bravely and powerfully writing this important post.

I am hearing you loud and clear and think we all should be shouting at the top of our lungs to make our politicians take notice.

I work in a charity that helps women living with abuse and one of the most common reasons women feel they have to stay is because leaving often means living in poverty. It is not okay. Something must be done.

It sounds like you are a wonderful mom and your Roo is lucky to have you. Wishing for brighter times ahead.

Amber said...

This is a sobering post, but an important one. It made me grateful for what I have. But you should also be grateful for what you are giving dear Roo, which means so much more than economics.

Her Bad Mother said...

What Sandra said: ditto. I'm so glad that you invited me over here. What a wonderful, illuminating, HONEST post.

metro mama said...

Thanks for writing this, and for inviting me here to read it.

Yes, something must be done.

Jungle Mama said...

What a powerful post! I grew up poor also, but not so poor that we did not have a car, although I was still stuck getting old ugly cloths from garage sales while the rest of the girls in school wore new items off the racks of The Bon. I remember eating taco's and spaghetti almost every night. We got the meat by hunting. While living in Minneapolis we attended the local ECFE program which picked up the families which did not have a car and because you had the states insurance the program was for free. At this program there was a particular mother who made a calendar of all the free events around the city and listed all of the discount stores throughout the city. I can imagine you would be great at that!

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