Seniors still struggling

Dear Editor:

An open letter to Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott.

As a senior living on only my CPP and OAS income, I have more than a few problems. And they are all quickly becoming hardships.    Serious hardships!

We are about to go back to normal hydro rates, but I am still at home 24 hours daily for up to five or six days in a row. I’m using more hydro than a normal lifestyle would demand. I do my laundry in daytime hours because it’s easier than staying up long after I’m tired and need to go to bed – which I need to do in order to pay lower rates under normal hydro terms.

I am using more natural gas (Enbridge never did give anybody a break), as I have hot water on demand as well as a gas furnace. I would usually turn the heat down when I was out of my house during the cooler months – now, I’m here all the time and need to stay warm.  I’m also cooking more because I’m not invited out to eat nearly as often as I once was before the pandemic.

My rent will be increased the first of November but my pension won’t. How can a rich landlord’s organization be allowed to raise the rent of seniors while seniors’ pensions stay the same? Somehow that’s never seemed fair and this year, more than ever, it’s creating a problem for huge numbers of us who are tenants.

Groceries are costing us more because we don’t shop around to save money – we go to one store – and only once every week to 10 days, and we purchase what’s available there so we can to get in and out quickly and get back home (where we’re safe from people invading your space in their perceived security of wearing masks).  We often don’t get the things we need and we frequently have to purchase substitutes – sometimes more costly.

Food is often pre-packaged to make sure it’s clean and uncontaminated, but those packages are never the amount required by a one-person household, so there’s more waste in addition to the extra expense of having to buy what we don’t want. Thousands of Wellington County households are single-person households.

Honestly, we seniors need a break on rent. We need lower rates from our local hydro company (what about all-day same costs for anyone over 75?). We need (and have all along) a break on natural gas prices.

I’m not asking the government for more money; you’ve already been more than generous with your bolstering of Canada’s economy.   But can’t something be done to sway utility companies and landlords to back off – at least for a bit longer?       Amounts that are miniscule to them would go a long way to ease the path forward for those of us living on CPP!

Can’t you please help us?

Helen Marucci,