Poverty has never usually been a major concern in Toronto. Only until 2013 when house prices starting increasing did we see a large influx of homeless on the streets. These people were mainly from broken families, drug users, or those with low income jobs.
These people are unable to afford even the most basic housing because it is too expensive. Families with both parents working are suffering as they too cannot afford the high rents in downtown Toronto. Here are a few poverty stats for you to think about in Toronto:
1% of families do not have enough food to eat 3 meals a day
5% of children in Toronto worry about sleeping on the streets
50% of homeless individuals are on the streets due to drugs and alcohol
20% of people living in Toronto are living under the poverty line
Based on the statistics above, we can see that poverty is a growing issue in Toronto. As a leading data collection agency, we will provide updates every few months regarding poverty. We need to do what we can to help these people get off the streets and most the of the time the solutions are simple. It is the mindset that needs to be changed.
Child Poverty is a growing problem in Toronto as family incomes are not keeping up with the increase in house prices. The video below shows how child poverty rates have gone up dramatically. Many families living in these low income areas are immigrants and visible minorities who have recently come to Canada with few skills. The city of Toronto is working to implement an action plan will detail step by step on how child poverty and be decreased. Recently a large budget for public housing has been passed in the government and this should decrease poverty numbers in the long run.
Poor mental health and poverty go hand in hand. With the income of many Toronto residents staying the same, but asset values increasing, it creates increased pressure on families and individuals. A survey conducted in February 2015 by the national Survey Board found that over 70% of adults are suffering from severe stress and depression. This numbers shocked us as stress and depression directly relate to the productivity of employees.
Depression is a large issue that must be tacked. Many families are feeling hopeless as they cannot afford to purchase a house and are mainly renting. These families are being left behind as house prices increase and are forced into low income housing units. Rental rates are also seen going up faster on a monthly basis than ever before.
Our organization has set up booths all over Toronto providing free therapeutic advice to the public. We acknowledge in these difficult times it is hard for one to think rationally. We provide advice relating to personal finance, mental health and also give advice on the different government programs that are offered.
Divorce rates in Toronto have skyrocketed because of financial reasons. Many families have just one breadwinner and it is not enough to support a household. When social systems such as this face pressure, it effects the province as a whole.
What Can be Done
Minimum Wage- We need to pressure the provincial government to increase the minimum wage in order to make it more manageable for families to live.
Social Programs- We need to ensure that everyone is aware of the social programs in place as many in need are unaware of the help they can get.
With the huge price increases month over month for Toronto real estate, it is no wonder everyone wants a piece of the action. Just in August, home prices have gone up 5%. With fewer listings for sale and demand greater than ever before, it is expected that the price appreciations will continue. We have not seen the same with the price of condominium units as they have not appreciated as much. Condo units have a downside as you are stuck paying the monthly maintenance fee per month. All the demand is going towards town homes, semi-detached homes, and detached homes.
This demand is proving to be tough on the low income population. Governments are having a tough time keeping up with the demand for low income housing units. Especially now that land prices have soared, it is increasingly difficult to find cheap land for sale in the Toronto area.
The main areas seeing growth are Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan and Richmond Hill. If interest rates were to ever increase, it would be problematic for the local population. Those who have bought homes and are non-residents would be fine as these people who bought homes are usually wealthy to begin with. It is the Canadian population that we must be concerned about.
Local food banks in the area are jammed for lunch and dinner every night as many cannot afford to buy food. Even if you are earning an average salary, you still cannot make ends meet while making your mortgage payments. Huffington Post Canada has released an article detailing how much income you need to purchase a house and the numbers are staggering. You can see the article here http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/theredpin/homebuyer-income-gta_b_11475576.html
Poverty rates in Mississauga have soared since the oil price decline. It is estimated that 15% of Mississauga’s working population is directly and indirectly related to the petrochemicals industry. As oil prices have declined, the Canadian dollar has weakened making importing goods much more expensive.
The oil industry is one of Canada’s largest and prices have remained high for a long time. With the recent decline, it sent shock waves through the market. As cities in Canada shift from a resource based economy to technology and service based, those living in poverty may increase.
It is through organizations such as the Mississauga Food Bank and the Stop Poverty Mississauga, that we can help improve the lives of the homeless and the poor.