Students Campaign To “Narrow the Gap”
1 min. read
December 4, 2009

This fall, a group of students in the Social Welfare Policy course led by Dr. Jim Vanderwoerd organized a campaign to ‘Narrow the Gap’ between low incomes and affordable rent in Ontario. According to the 2006 Census, 1 in every 5 Ontario tenants spends more than 50% of his or her income on rent. Today there are over 129,000 households on the waiting list for social housing where rent is geared to income, and wait times can be as long as 20 years. Ontario is the only province that has not made any progress in its housing funding since 2001. The students set up a display to encourage the student body to sign postcards to support a new Housing Benefit policy sponsored by the Daily Bread food bank. They collected about 200 signed postcards on campus, then attended a policy forum at Queen’s Park on November 5 sponsored by the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition. Two students, Bethany Petrusma and Emily Woudstra, spoke to the delegates (about 100 in attendance including several MPPs) about the campaign, and circulated the postcard for delegates to sign. Postcards were delivered to Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office, urging him to ‘Narrow the Gap’ between low incomes and affordable rent in Ontario.

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