CREATED AT THE 2010 POVERTY CHALLENGE
TO BE FORWARDED FOR COMMENT TO MEMBERS OF KINGSTON CITY COUNCIL
SUPPORT and SERVICES FOR WOMEN IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS
In Kingston there is a lack of support/services for women in abusive relationships. We believe the existing toll-free number should be better advertised so that women in need are more aware of the services that are available. This would increase their opportunities to come forward and get help.
MORE AFFORDABLE DAYCARE SPACES
In Kingston there is a lack of affordable daycare. We believe there should be more affordable licensed daycare. This would allow parents the freedom to work or pursue education to ensure they get out and stay out of poverty. The government could grant licensing and subsidies to ensure affordable daycare to single mothers who are the hardest hit by poverty. Students from high schools could volunteer at daycares and receive time and ½ for their required 40 hours of community service. Daycare facilities could also offer subsidized training for those who are unemployed and who may want to get into early childhood education.
MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING – SUGGESTION #1
In Kingston there is a lack of affordable housing. We propose that we turn unused property into housing. Potential tenants can volunteer and be trained to renovate the building to make it suitable for families. The building should be operated as a cooperative so the tenants have a say in how their community is run. This program would provide tenants with housing and allow them to develop essential building skills. We could get employers on board with the promise of more trained workers and the owners of the unused buildings would receive breaks on property taxes. Potential tenants need to be involved at each stage to ensure community involvement.
MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING – SUGGESTION #2
In Kingston there is a lack of affordable housing. We could utilize the prison farmland to create a mixed income neighborhood that included subsidized housing. To accomplish and organize the project a collective group of government funded agencies as well as non-governmental agencies should be formed. By creating mixed income neighbourhoods we would create a diverse community in which families will still want to live once out of poverty. The government would be required to fund the project as well as support educational opportunities in the community. Individuals could get “co-op credits” by volunteer hours. This could provide useful training for those involved.
HELP FOR SINGLE MOTHERS ENCOUNTERING PROBLEMS WITH CHILD CUSTODY
In Kingston women who live in poverty often have difficulty regaining custody of their children. We believe that ambassadors of the many social agencies that deal with single mothers in poverty should meet bi-weekly to discuss issues around women getting custody of their children. This would prevent mothers from being bounced from organization to organization. We need to increase public awareness of the problem so that more people are actively working on possible solutions.
MORE AFFORDABLE TREATMENT FOR THOSE SUFFERING WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
In Kingston there is a lack of affordable treatment and medication for people with mental health issues. There should be free clinical treatment geared towards those who are unable to afford the necessary psychiatric medical treatment to ensure their survival and quality of life. This would provide people with the tools to improve their own quality of life through services that were previously inaccessible. Individuals living in poverty are victims of a vicious cycle in which they can’t afford treatment and they are unable to make money to support themselves. Patients and ex-patients could be actively involved in volunteering at clinics.
MORE AFFORDABLE TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION FOR DRUG ADDICTS
In Kingston there is a lack of accessible and affordable rehabilitation for drug addicts. There should be a better transportation system for people to travel to their required treatment programs. We also need more education regarding the needs of people in our community. We can gain public support by hearing testimonials from the people in need.
IMPROVED COMMUNICATION BETWEEN ONTARIO WORKS AND THOSE APPLYING FOR OR RECEIVING BENEFITS
Kingstonians find the process of applying to Ontario Works very invasive. Individuals who rely on OW should be able to access their account from a website. In this new format information would be accessible, options would be more transparent, and rights/responsibilities would be more clearly outlined. The system should be user friendly and could be easily monitored.
IMPROVED ACCESS TO COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
In Kingston students find it difficult to receive and pay off Ontario Student Loans. We propose that post-secondary students receive lower tuition based upon their ability to pay. There should be built in assistance for those who live in poverty. To finance this program we would need to increase taxes to the very wealthy. Kingstonians would be proud if their community had equal access to education.