From Beth Wilson, of Social Planning Toronto:
As you may know, City Council is considering cutting the Hardship Fund &mdash a fund that helps to cover the costs of medical items for low income people who are not eligible for Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (mostly seniors and people with disabilities, particularly senior women). According to the City, the fund “serves primarily poor seniors who face potentially life-threatening situations if they cannot obtain needed medical items.”
At the September 26/27 City Council meeting, Councillor Augimeri put forward a motion that the City Manager NOT consider the elimination of the Hardship Fund in the 2012 budget. Her motion to save the Hardship Fund lost by 1 vote, with 22 Councillors in favour (= save the Hardship Fund) and 23 Councillors against (= consider eliminating the Hardship Fund).
Toronto Star reporter Laurie Monsebraaten, who covers many important social issues, is working on a story about the Hardship Fund and would like to speak with people who have accessed the fund. Do you know anyone who has accessed the Hardship Fund? Have you referred community members to the fund? Please let me know. The fund is not yet lost. We would really like to get the story out about the importance of this fund. There is still an opportunity to save it during the budget process. Media attention to this issue will put pressure on Councillors to save the fund.