Termination Of The Hardship Fund: Open Letter To City Manager Joe Pennachetti

July 26, 2012

Mr. Joe Pennachetti,
City Manager

RE: Termination of the Hardship Fund

Dear City Manager,

We have recently learned that Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) terminated the Hardship Fund effective July 1, 2012. TESS staff are moving the current 1,500 recipients into other programs, if possible, to help clients with their medical needs. However, several hundred clients have not been accommodated to date, and no additional applications are being accepted.

We are writing because we believe these actions are contrary to the directions given to staff as part of the 2012 budget. We believe the Council direction asked you to continue funding the program until the end of the year and report back on the provincial position.

Below are the motions that were moved at Executive and approved at Council on January 17, 2012 related to the Hardship Fund:

Toronto Employment and Social Services

211.    City Council request the General Manager of Toronto Employment and Social Services to advise the province that the City will fund the Hardship Fund until July 1, 2012 and request provincial funding to support future hardship fund applications. In the event that additional provincial funding is not secured, any additional funding needed for the balance of the year be funded from the Toronto Employment and Social Services net budget.

213.    City Council direct the General Manager of Toronto Employment and Social Services to pursue discussions on funding the Hardship Fund with the Provincial Government and report back as appropriate.

The Council motion clearly asks for you to advocate with the province for continued funding, and if that was not forthcoming, the funds would be allocated from internal sources until the end of the year. The recommendations also requested that you report to Council on the discussions with the province.

We are concerned that some of our most vulnerable residents, many seniors with serious medical needs are losing this important benefit.

We are, therefore, requesting that you continue providing assistance to clients under the Hardship Fund, and report to Council on October 2, on this matter. We also understand that the Province made changes to Ontario Works in the spring budget that will have further detrimental impacts on low income residents in Toronto, and ask that you address these changes in your report as well.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Councillor Maria Augimeri
Councillor Ana Bailao
Councillor Shelley Carroll
Councillor Josh Colle
Councillor Janet Davis
Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker
Councillor Sarah Doucette
Councillor John Filion
Councillor Paula Fletcher
Councillor Mary Fragedakis
Councillor Mike Layton
Councillor Pam McConnell
Councillor Joe Mihevc
Councillor James Pasternak
Councillor Gord Perks
Councillor Adam Vaughan
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam

cc
Brenda Patterson, Deputy City Manager
Cam Weldon, Treasurer and CFO
Heather MacVicar, General Manager, Toronto Employment and Social Services