Hunger amongst people with disabilities on the rise in the GTA

Daily Bread launches Thanksgiving Drive with new report on hunger

TORONTO, Sept. 25, 2014 /CNW/ - Toronto food banks are seeing a significant increase in clients receiving Ontario Disability Support, according to a new report released today by Daily Bread Food Bank. Nearly 30 per cent of food bank clients are receiving the disability portion of social assistance, known as the Ontario Disability Support Program, up from 17 per cent in 2005. The low level of income given by this program, which is not indexed to inflation, is falling farther behind rising food and housing costs.

"Low incomes and an inadequate social assistance system, combined with rising food and housing costs, are forcing people with disabilities to come to food banks to make ends meet," said Richard Matern, senior manager of research and author of the report. "We are very concerned as hunger worsens already existing health conditions causing people with disabilities to be reliant on food banks and other social supports for long periods of time."

The Who's Hungry: 2014 Profile of Hunger in the GTA report is based on nearly 1,000 comprehensive, face-to-face client interviews in 37 food banks across the GTA.  Despite an overall decrease from last year, food bank visits remain nine per cent above pre-recession levels. There are more single people in the city core, the majority with a disability, while more families with children are being pushed to the inner suburbs to find affordable housing.

"What they all have in common is that they pay a high portion of their income on rent," said Gail Nyberg, Daily Bread's executive director. "And they are having a harder time affording the rising cost of food so they are turning to food banks." As the provincial government moves forward with its new Poverty Reduction Strategy, serious attention also needs to be paid to improving income supports for people with disabilities.

Daily Bread's Thanksgiving Drive runs until October 18 with goals of $300,000 and 200,000 pounds of food. Online donations can be made at www.dailybread.ca. Donations of healthy, nutritious non-perishables can be dropped off at any local fire hall.

For more information, or to download a copy of the Who's Hungry report, please go to www.dailybread.ca

SOURCE: Daily Bread Food Bank

For further information: Sarah Anderson, Senior Manager, Communications, E: media@dailybread.ca, M: 416-450-2196

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