Stockton, California did a post-2008 crash-and-burn rivalled perhaps only by Detroit in terms of American municipal financial disaster. By embracing an economy built on minimally regulated suburban real-estate development and low taxes the city of about three hundred thousand in the San Joaquin Valley ran maximum risk with its economic health. The result? Maximum bust.
All the woes of America from foreclosures to rising crime and obesity and declining schools seem to beset Stockton and grip the city in a depressing vice. A new mayor, however, has begun to reconceive Stockton with a modest basic income program as part of his plan for trying to move things forward.
This week we were reminded that the federal Liberal party’s bag men are no strangers to the benefits of stashing one’s money overseas. Hey, even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has a couple hundred pounds in that fancy hat. Attention for the matter of how Canada’s elites array their money has, unfortunately, proved fleeting.
Also predictably disappointing was a near total lack of media interest in a statement from a professional body of Canadian social workers in favour of recent official interest in basic income. Like other observers, the social workers have come to find Canada’s approach to the costly presence of poverty here less than effective. Along with the experience of doctors and nurses, the knowledge of social workers has to be considered with high seriousness in this area. Money stashed overseas in tax havens would seem to at least hint at the ability of this society to afford social policies that would eradicate poverty.
From safety net to stable foundation: CASW recommends a universal basic income
casw-acts.ca (with links to 2014 & 2015 papers on inequality that consider UBI)
Three items reminding us that how we move around our community reflects and helps determine our status there.
Low-wage jobs are moving to distant suburbs. How will workers get there? As low-wage jobs shift out of the cities, some employers use the rides as a way to attract workers from urban areas.
Why the fight for better transit is part of the fight for racial equity. There are two things I want desperately: justice and better public transit
Transportation: the overlooked poverty problem
See also: (47) No ride? No job!
image: Leo U via Flickr/CC
For low income neighbourhoods to increase from 9% of a place to 51% of a place is a pretty crap reality. Welcome to Brampton and Mississauga, once showpieces of growth and consumer choice. Really, if you know anything about social conditions here the update to a 2015 United Way report will not surprise you.
And oh boy, the reports are never in short supply for long. From late September: word about older citizens and others in food difficulty.
Who’s Hungry in Our City? 2017
North York Harvest & Daily Bread Food Bank
Not working isn’t the cause of all this. In case you were wondering about 60% of those in poverty in Canada are in work.
Hard times in the 313 have been news for some time. These recent features look in at the situation beyond a reviving downtown and asks if philanthropists could be doing more in suburban Detroit.
Suburban poverty on the rise, but is philanthropy following?
To track suburban poverty trends, look to the schools
Mary Kramer on WJR: poverty rising in suburbs
crainsdetroit.com (audio 5:43)
image: Mike Boening via Flickr/CC
West Point Grey is out toward University of British Columbia and mostly it embodies the best of things Vancouver has to offer. Unless you are living there in a van. Such folk seem to be all over town now. For the moment, the police are concerned about the phenomenon but there are no plans for a US-style crackdown on van dwellers. As long as the vehicles remain mobile and nuisances are kept to a minimum it appears that this improvised manner of living is set to take hold. Why? Vancouver always had its share of social difficulty. After all, it’s comparatively mild, and it is literally the end of the road in Canada. Now it is also stupidly expensive for most waged workers. Small wonder, really.
image: A Kwanten via Flickr/CC
A draft policy document has been released by the City of Mississauga regarding housing affordability. Basically, the middle class can’t handle it here any more, at least not via wages alone.
Not expecting this to become a big spend ticket soon and even a reasonably well off municipality cannot go it alone on the affordable housing file. Thing is, those middle class workers presumably still have some role to play in the economy. If they aren’t going to be hard pressed, stressed out and even driven off by the cost of housing then something will have to be done.
Meet four Lindsay residents hoping to benefit from Ontario’s basic income experiment. The province will soon send out applications to participate in the project. We spoke to a few Lindsayites who are eager to take part
tvo.org (video 9:12)
image: Basic Income Images
Toronto’s Edwardian past is still here in much of the street grid and through older built structures. Unfortunately, you could say the way many a Torontonian lives right now is Edwardian.
Minimum-wage earners in Toronto do not make enough money to thrive. Report finds that residents need more than double what they earn on minimum wage, and that social policies need to be adjusted to meet the needs to present-day society
image: Daniel Varas via Flickr/CC