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Ottawa EMC: Community group tells government to 'have a heart' on Valentine's Day - ACORN Canada

Ottawa EMC: Community group tells government to ‘have a heart’ on Valentine’s Day

Posted February 24, 2011


EMC News – Friends and volunteers of the Ottawa Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now took to the streets on Valentine’s Day to convince the provincial government to improve social assistance.

The protest at 351 Preston St. is the start of ACORN’s 10 week campaign to increase social assistance rates, maintain special diet allowances, improve medical coverage, stop clawbacks in support, and support housing benefits.

To get the message across, ACORN will be releasing a story per week of the hardships faced by those living off of the Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program.

“We’re taking ten people’s stories of people receiving provincial assistance,” said Kathleen Fortin, chair of Mechanicsville/Hintonburg ACORN and recipient of ODSP. “The amount that people are getting on assistance is not meeting their needs.”

According to a release from ACORN, “many families spend most of their assistance benefits just to cover their rent and this is driving people into abject poverty. To bring the rates back up to pre-1995 levels adjusted for inflation would require a 50 per cent increase.”

The protest had 26 members present. The group put together a Valentine’s card to send to the McGuinty government, telling the provincial government to “have a heart.”

“The thing we’re complaining about, is when Mike Harris was in power, he significantly cut social programs,” said Fortin.


EMC News – Friends and volunteers of the Ottawa Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now took to the streets on Valentine’s Day to convince the provincial government to improve social assistance.

The protest at 351 Preston St. is the start of ACORN’s 10 week campaign to increase social assistance rates, maintain special diet allowances, improve medical coverage, stop clawbacks in support, and support housing benefits.

To get the message across, ACORN will be releasing a story per week of the hardships faced by those living off of the Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program.

“We’re taking ten people’s stories of people receiving provincial assistance,” said Kathleen Fortin, chair of Mechanicsville/Hintonburg ACORN and recipient of ODSP. “The amount that people are getting on assistance is not meeting their needs.”

According to a release from ACORN, “many families spend most of their assistance benefits just to cover their rent and this is driving people into abject poverty. To bring the rates back up to pre-1995 levels adjusted for inflation would require a 50 per cent increase.”

The protest had 26 members present. The group put together a Valentine’s card to send to the McGuinty government, telling the provincial government to “have a heart.”

“The thing we’re complaining about, is when Mike Harris was in power, he significantly cut social programs,” said Fortin.

 

“People of low income are always the first people hit by any kind of cuts. I think it’s unfair. 50 per cent might seem like a lot, but when you weight out the cost of living and cost of eating. Harris cut that budget by 22 per cent when he was in power. If you bring up to today’s inflation and cost of living, the benefits have only been raised by 1 per cent a year.”

ACORN is not expecting changes to take place immediately, as the event was designed to raise awareness more than demanding instant change.

“Things aren’t done overnight,” said Fortin. “If we could get the government to listen to us and make the appropriate changes, that would be good. They should consult with us.”

Original article available at: http://www.emcottawaeast.ca/20110224/news/Community+group+tells+government+to+’have+a+heart’+on+Valentine’s+Day

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