Poverty a problem in Wellington County

Close to 80 people attended an evening arranged by the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination here on Nov. 23.

Senator Hugh Segal said that poverty is worse in rural areas but nobody wants to talk about it. The task force has issued some numbers that demonstrate the poverty in Wellington County, including Guelph.

Inside county boundaries, 8.7% of all people are living below the Low Income Cutoff (before taxes).

There was a 7% increase in the number of people served through the Ontario Association of Food Bank members in Wellington and Guelph, from March 2008 to March 2009.

When it comes to housing security, the problem is huge. The average rent cost for a one bedroom apartment in Guelph and Wellington as of April this year was $768.

A single person with no dependants receiving Ontario Works receives $364 per month for shelter costs.

And there are other housing issues. Almost 700 people visited shelters in Guelph and Wellington in 2009, and many people made multiple visits.

There are also issues for recreation.  Demand in Guelph for recreation programs rose 70% from 2008 to 2009.

And, as Segal noted in his speech, 65% of those who fall under the poverty line have jobs.