Oct 25 Town Hall to Save the Community Start-Up fund

Town Hall Meeting: Save the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB)
Thursday, 25 October 2012
18:30 until 20:30

Kitchener Downtown Community Centre, 35B Weber St West

Presented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees
and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Join the province-wide mobilization to protect this vital benefit!

Calling all individuals, unions, agencies, community and faith groups:
Build a united front against austerity! Demand economic justice for all!

Hosted by Kitchener’s Poverty Makes Us Sick (PMUS)

If you want to help build this event or learn how you and
others in your community can receive the CSUMB, contact us today.

Poverty Makes Us Sick: ph: 226-789-6786 or forspecialdiet@gmail.com

Background:

The 2012 Ontario budget calls for the cancellation of the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit and the Home Repairs Benefit (CSUMB). The cuts are scheduled to take effect in January 2013. A province-wide campaign is being built to save the CSUMB and, in Waterloo Region, local organizers are looking to contribute to this in a number of ways.

• October 24th mass call-in to local MPPs, demanding their commitment to saving the CSUMB.
• October 25th Town Hall Meeting, with featured speakers from OCAP and CUPE will help to situate local efforts within the larger provincial campaign to save the CSUMB and to build solidarity between labour and community struggles to promote economic justice for all in Ontario.
• Mass clinics will be held over the next month (beginning on Saturday, October 20th) to make people aware of how they can apply for CSUMB and to help all those who wish to obtain it to fill out application forms.

What is the CSUMB?

The CSUMB provides funds of up to $800 for individuals and up to $1500 to families, once every two years for people on Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to maintain their housing. Essentially, this is a homelessness prevention benefit. It is also about offering people the necessary economic mobility required to keep themselves and their children in safe living conditions.

The CSUMB helps the nearly 900,000 people on OW and ODSP pay for things like first and last month’s rent deposits. It helps people buy or replace furniture. It helps people put down deposits on utilities or pay overdue utility bills. More than 16,000 people are currently forced to use this benefit every month.

The existence of this program highlights the fact that current OW and ODSP rates are woefully inadequate, leaving those receiving assistance living in deep poverty. These cuts will only further the current crisis in this system. Along with the recent cuts to discretionary benefits, surviving on these meager benefits becomes even less possible.

Cutting the CSUMB will particularly hurt:

• women and young adults fleeing violence at home;
• people trying to move from shelters into permanent homes;
• individuals transitioning from prison back into society;
• people leaving psychiatric units and attempting to resume life in the community;
• people dealing with housing situations that threaten their health, e.g. insufficient insulation and roofing, bedbug infestations or mold;
• people who cannot afford the rising cost of energy.

NO MORE CUTS! Join the growing community response and help to protect the CSUMB!

Author: Eleanor Grant

Eleanor Grant writes an occasional e-mail newsletter on social justice issues.