In spring, 2017, the Government of Ontario announced Hamilton and two other Ontario communities would participate in a 3 year pilot project to test the idea of a basic income. There's now a national and international focus on Hamilton as a result of the pilot project
There was once an idea that interested people; if you gave people autonomy and enough money you could shape their health and well-being. But was it true? They took the idea and created an experiment called the Ontario Basic Income Pilot. 4000 households. 4 cities. 6000 lives. Then it was cancelled. The stories you will read here are not fictional. They belong to real people. This is their lives. On basic income and off.
People living on provincial social assistance experience the deepest poverty in society. Rates are inadequate to meet even basic needs such as housing, food or warmth. It's time to provide opportunity and restore dignity for all those who rely on social assistance. Everybody deserves a future!
Gentrification and rising property values are leading to skyrocketing rents in Hamilton. Families are being priced out of their homes and displaced by large property management companies that often hike rents in multi-residential apartment buildings.
New financial benefits such as the Canada Child Care Benefit, the working income tax credit and the seniors' guaranteed income supplement could provide hundreds of dollars a month in additional income for low-income families in Hamilton, but nearly 7,000 families don't file taxes and lose out on more than $40 million in financial assistance that could help reduce poverty.
Payday Loans appeal to people who fall into a financial emergency and need quick cash to pay a bill or put food in the table, but borrowing can quickly cascade into deep debt. Outlets in Hamilton often locate in lower-income neighbourhoods and use misleading advertising to hide high interest rates. At least 16,000 Hamiltonians borrow about $50 million worth of payday loans annually.
In Hamilton 29,335 people work but don't earn enough at their jobs to move out of poverty. Precarious work, irregular scheduling, short-term contracts and lack of access to health, dental and prescription drug benefits all contribute to a cycle of working poverty for too many working people in our city.
The purpose of the Speakers’ Bureau is to empower individuals by giving voice to their lived experience with poverty and social exclusion. The concept’s origins stem from the Shifting Attitudes work group of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction; founded to combat pervasive negative stereotypes and promote educated dialogue around the community implications and costs of poverty and social exclusion. Participants will be available for speaking engagements to promote acceptance of community diversity and enhance awareness of local poverty issues through the telling of their personal stories. Speaker Profiles Isabella is a proud Hamiltonian, by way of Montreal and then Burlington