New research paints discouraging picture of poverty in Hamilton

MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, World Vision and Citizens for Public Justice released a joint report, Poverty at Your Doorstep, featuring detailed snapshots of poverty in five Canadian cities. According to the research, Hamilton is still working its way back from the 2008 recession with poverty rates remaining higher than the provincial averages.

"In the downtown community of Hamilton, there is no question that families are facing increased housing insecurity, inadequate employment and decreased income supports.  But perhaps most seriously, with pressures everywhere, families are facing an attitudinal shift from people at large—a blaming, punitive attitude regarding their needs," says Mark Vander Vennen, Shalem Mental Health Network's executive director.

"World Vision is on the frontlines of poverty in nearly 100 countries, yet we can't ignore the situation in our own backyards. The gap between rich and poor is growing at an alarming rate and too many children in Hamilton still don't have access to the same opportunities as other Canadians," says Hugh Brewster, World Vision's national manager of Canadian Programs.

"This report shows Canadians how much farther we need to go to end poverty. Citizens for Public Justice calls persistently for a life of dignity for all. An essential step in that direction is a federal poverty elimination plan that includes long-term solutions such as adequate housing, a fair taxation system and investment in social programs," says Joe Gunn, executive director of Citizens for Public Justice.

Poverty in Hamilton

  • The number of people turning to social assistance started to edge down in 2012, but still remains much higher than pre-recession levels.
  • Food bank usage, which rose steeply after the recession, remains nearly 20 per cent above 2008 levels. Hamilton Food Share has documented a significant rise in the proportion of children using food banks over the past few years to 46 per cent in 2011.
  • Average rent in Hamilton has steadily increased. Hamilton's housing costs - historically one of the most affordable in Ontario - have become a problem, especially for low-income families.
  • Hamilton's child poverty rate increased sharply to 13 per cent in 2008, but fell back quickly in following years to five per cent.
  • Hamilton's unemployment rate has dropped to close to pre-recession levels. However, the recession of 2008-09 polarized the city's labour market, creating economic instability for many families. The job market is now comprised of a larger share of low-wage service work.

Community Outreach
Well known for international development and humanitarian relief efforts, World Vision also works with 80 partner organizations to help Canadian children living in poverty. In Hamilton, World Vision funds a range of activities including: support for refugees; breakfast programs for homeless youth; leadership and volunteer opportunities for youth; social-skills for children ages 3-5; arts programs; and support networks for single parents.

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at

Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) is a national organization of members inspired by faith to seek justice in Canadian public policy.

SOURCE: World Vision Canada

For further information:

Interviews available:
For World Vision and Shalem Mental Health Network, contact Tiffany Baggetta (mobile: 416-305-9612) or
For Citizens for Public Justice, contact Sarah Shepherd (613-232-0275 x225) or

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