The GTA has very accessible social programs available and do a lot to thwart families dropping below the poverty line. Programs that assist in locating suitable housing and subsidizing rent based on income levels are integral in helping families staying above the poverty line. Access to food banks and child care funding are also vital in averting families from sinking into the abyss of poverty. Additional support programs, such as workshops on resume writing and interviewing, job counselling, job specific training, and access to basic education are also fantastic programs that contribute to individuals in staying above the poverty-line.
With the availability of all the above-mentioned programs, Peel Region still has 15 percent of its population living in poverty (Settlement at Work, 2017). Some of these programs can be arduous to locate or access as new Canadians. As a result of language, educational, and cultural barriers, the 15 percent of Peel Region’s population living in poverty may not have relaxed admission to these supportive programs. Others may be less inclined to use the programs due to government application scrutiny. Begging for money from others, including government agencies, can cause embarrassment for some. With the added scrutiny of government employees, some people would rather not attempt to access these helpful programs.
All these things can be attributed to rising poverty rates, and can be easily remedied through making government grants more accessible. I recently came across an article about dissolving poverty lines by giving out direct financial transfer. The idea of giving away large sums of money to individuals below the poverty line, sounds ludicrous to some, however, after reading the article the idea became less alarming to me. The belief behind giving direct financial transfers is that individuals make better choices for themselves than bureaucrats can. Programs like the direct financial transfers are available in over 45 different countries throughout the world and been successful in helping over 110 million families. The programs range from social pensions to education stipends, some come with conditions: sending children to school or for regular checkups with a qualified physician. As a result of these programs, studies have shown that children are healthier, people are found to spend more money on food, their children, and invest a portion of the money towards improving their income. Namibia used a similar approach through introducing an unconditional basic income grant, as a result the child malnutrition rate dropped from 42% to 10% and their school dropout rates went to zero. These programs were supplemented with the aid of a life coach, an agent of the government, that supported the grant recipient in making positive choice with the funding.
Settlement at Work. (2017, January 5). Retrieved from http://www.settlementatwork.org/events/poverty-peel-it-effectively-addressed-all