Do you believe that poverty is the most critical issue facing Hamilton today? If so, please outline your solutions. If not, please explain your reasons.

Responses to the question: "Do you believe that poverty is the most critical issue facing Hamilton today? If so, please outline your solutions. If not, please explain your reasons."

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1 Candidate Response (top)

Ward 01
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
McHattie, Brian Yes Clearly poverty is the most important issue for Hamilton, an opinion shared by at least 80% of Hamiltonians as per the recent Spec poll. As the Council representative on the Roundtable for Poverty Reduction these past five years, President of CityHousing Hamilton, and a member of the Emergency and Community Services standing committee for the past seven years, I would like to suggest the following three priorities, amongst many:

1. Living Wage/Income Increases

In order for Hamiltonians to fully participate in our community they require a Living Wage of some $16/hour (actual amount depending upon the person and their situation) versus the current minimum wage which is keeping some 25% of our citizens as "working poor", getting by on visits to food banks and going without many of life's necessities. The Province must fix social assistance rates to match the actual costs of living so folks don't have to choose between housing and food etc. The Federal government must begin playing a role in poverty issues as they have been noticeably absent. The Senate report on poverty lies out the federal role and speaks to the need for a guaranteed annual income

2. Nutritional Food

Via school nutrition programs as per the Roundtable Action Plan but also food security efforts to ensure families have enough food. The Province can do this via OW/ODSP rate increases but also with additional food supplement programs. This budget year Council will be asked to support funds for our food banks replacing the annual emergency requests with base budgeted funding. We need to provide more community garden opportunities as we've done in Ward 1 and through establishment of 6 new gardens in CityHousing Hamilton buildings in 2010.

3. Affordable Housing

* require more funding from higher levels of government to build new housing, offer rent supplements and housing allowances, and fix decaying existing housing along with money for supportive programming for residents who need it; this needs to be across the spectrum from rent geared to income to affordable housing to home ownership options
* locally we need to find cost-effective solutions to new housing including our City dollars for rent supplements (I moved Council motions for $2.4M in supplements last term of Council) and partnerships to ensure local housing dollars go further
* we have a very clear and successful homelessness strategy which requires provincial funding which we need to advocate for

Response Summary (top)

Brief ResponseCount% of Total

2 Candidate Has Not Responded (top)

Ward 01
Greco, Tony
Paquette, Raymond