Liberal MPP and leadership candidate Glen Murray appeared at Thursday's OCAP Sleep-out and got an earful from angry people upset about the cut to the Community Start-Up Benefit.
If he becomes Premier, Murray promised to reverse the cut to the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) and eliminate homelessness in 10 years.
On Thursday evening, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and their allies camped overnight outside Glen Murray’s constituency office on Parliament Street just north of Carlton.
Murray is the Liberal MPP for Toronto Centre which includes the 'Downtown Eastside', one of the poorest neighborhoods in all of Canada with a high concentration of homelessness.
Welfare and disability rates are already impossible to survive on and the cuts to the CSUMB will make things even harder.
Beginning January 1st, the provincial liberal government is cutting $67 million from the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit, a housing benefit for people receiving social assistance benefits.
For more than 16,000 people every month, it can mean the difference between being homeless or finding a place to live.
Under the proposed changes, half of the CSUMB will go to municipal housing and homelessness programs that serve an even larger pool of low income people.
The other half has been eliminated from the budget.
The CSUMB currently provides $799 for a single person and $1500 for an adult with children. It’s available every two years, sooner in “exceptional” circumstances. And is used to help people pay first and last month’s rent, get furniture and change the locks if they need to.
It’s especially critical for women and their children trying to flee domestic violence situations.