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.
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.
Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle meets Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed in today’s Toronto Star. The paper sent a writer to work at a large industrial bakery in Toronto recently. Her findings should shock us.
Wages are low. The pace is fast. Safety is a hit-and-miss affair in a profitable establishment making bread products for corporate clients. There has been loss of life at the plant where most of the workers are female newcomers. Their employer has received grants, loans and praise from the government. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board gives them rebates. Through their lawyer the owners say that safety is important.
Temps pick their wages up in cash at a payday lending office thirty-five minutes away by bus. Their employer drives a Bentley and lives in a mansion.
On Twitter alone, mentions of this feature have grown steadily all day. This feature deserves a wide audience and is exactly the kind of reportage the Star should be coming up with.
We went looking around online for articles about natural disasters and poverty, specifically Hurricane Harvey, earlier this week. A couple of strong feature articles appeared in due course. Yet, we were unexpectedly distracted and found a rather poignant feeling was created by a piece on survivors of a different kind of horror and disaster.
Survivors of the Holocaust have called Toronto home since immediately after World War II. Now, in the final years of their lives, it emerges that many have lived in poverty. Truncated family connections, disrupted life courses, multiple migrations, language difficulties and emotional problems seem to have exerted themselves to the detriment of Holocaust survivors. The Toronto Star took a look at their situation this month in the item below.
Housing has been an issue in Peel Region, this blog’s home ground, for decades. Waiting lists are long and there are issues with building condition. Money from the province of Ontario is no doubt going to be welcome. This article raises the question of distribution as Toronto appears to have been allocated much of the anticipated funding, with Peel and other places less firmly mentioned. Peel Living, a social housing provider, is the Greater Toronto Area’s number three housing agency.