The city is looking at options for helping vulnerable residents in the face of a program cut by the provincial government.
Members of Hamilton’s emergency and community services committee voted on Thursday to ask staff to outline the costs and other details of a temporary program, that would offset the loss of the Transition Child Benefit.
Tom Cooper, Director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, has told committee members that the benefit provides $230 per month in short-term support to parents who are not yet eligible for other income support benefits such as the Canada Child Benefit and Ontario Child Benefit.
The Transition Child Benefit is being axed by the province, as of November 1.
Cooper describes it as a “lifeline for basic necessities,” adding that about 800 families and 1,800 children in Hamilton are impacted, “87 per cent of those children, three years old or younger.”
Hamilton resident Jackie Caldwell has also addressed councillors, saying “$230 dollars doesn’t sound like much, but when it’s 20 per cent of your total monthly income.
“It is a life-changing amount.”
If the city doesn’t respond, Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark predicts “overwhelmed” food banks and an increase in homelessness — “a month before Christmas.”
The elimination of the Transition Child Benefit follows an Ontario government review of social assistance programs, which Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have said is designed to achieve “better outcomes for clients, reducing costs and administrative burden and ensuring social assistance programs are more accountable.”
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