A miniscule amount of knowledge about housing voucher programs in the US would have alerted the Social Planning Council of Toronto to the potential dangers associated with such an endeavour.
The number one thing I wanted to know as I listened to their speakers from places like the United Way, ISAC (the Income Security and Advocacy Center), and the ODSP Action Coalition.was how does the idea of a Portable Housing Benefit work together with the calls for commitments to Poverty Reduction Strategies and the Guaranteed Annual Income Pilot Program that has been rolled out in Hamilton, Lindsay, and Thunder Bay.
The truth is it doesn't.
The implementation of a Portable Housing Benefit would disempower individuals. It will prevent people from having any REAL choice while ensuring that the Social Planning Council and their member agencies still have a poor and unfortunate base to support. Without which it would be difficult for them to raise donation dollars, apply for grants, and supposedly earn their pay cheques.
On the other hand, giving money directly to those in need through an expanded Guaranteed Annual Income Program, would arguable be more empowering to the recipients and cost effective as the money goes directly to those in need. Thereby removing, the need for the overpaid middle men representing the charities and organizations that are profiting off the backs of the poor.
Overall, I was deeply disappointed with this forum. Especially considering that my three table mates appeared to have no clue what the proposed Portable Housing Benefit was all about.
That's disgraceful given that as I stated before the speeches even started ... "I'm the only one at this table that's not being paid to be here."