Daily Prompt: West End Girls | The Politics of Starving

Photo © USDAgov

Cities are often plagued with assumptions. Some of these assumptions are that cities have a mix of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. It’s a clear divide of rich and poor. Upper and lower class. The lower class encompass the working poor and homeless. Poverty exists, but the divide isn’t as clear cut as people may think, especially in a city like Toronto.

There’s a ton of pull factors for a lower class individual to choose an urban surrounding to live in as opposed to an suburban community. Some of these reasons include better outreach, services geared towards low income earners, and access to treatment and government centres. The other is rapid, cheap, and accessible transit. A monthly Metropass in Toronto is roughly $122 a month.

Being able to get around easily increases a person’s odds of locating and maintaining employment.

A friend of mine just found a bachelor apartment near Pape Subway Station in downtown Toronto for $600 a month (all inclusive). I make no claim that their place is the Taj Mahal. Though, it isn’t a Rat Den either. The location isn’t necessarily “downtown”, but it’s within walking distance of a Subway. This allows that individual to be anywhere in the “core” within a short period of time.

I’ve lived the majority of my life in the suburbs. I have seen policies, governments, and individuals have a false idea that the majority of people who live in the suburbs are well off – or to some extent not in need of assistance or support. The current need does not adequately match the services, programming, or supports in place.

When I work with students the first question I ask in the morning is, “have you eaten today?” followed by “do you have a lunch?”. The suburbs aren’t devoid of the same economic and social problems the urban communities have. The urban communities have a better time recognizing, helping, and supporting these individuals. The urban communities have a long history of tracking and responding to these problems as opposed to the various suburban communities. I’m not trying to downplay the services being created or the ones already in existence, but it’s clear that it’s not enough.

What I’m asking isn’t for people to give more generously, or to change their political affiliation. These are personal decisions. What I am asking for, and what I truly want is people to look past a person’s residency when determining the financial needs of individuals and families. Before money, supports, and services are increased we as a community have to first recognize the problem. The process is long and tedious. It may take many years, but these are the type of conversations we need to be having right now.

One day I hope that my first question and concern won’t be trying to figure out whether a child has gone without food or not.

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