Toronto's Low Income Women of Colour Struggle in Isolation: Report Finds Needs Ignored by City HallWednesday, July 28 2010
Toronto's Low Income Women of Colour Struggle in Isolation: Report Finds Needs Ignored by City Hall Women are urging candidates for the next Mayor and Council of the City of Toronto to address the needs and wishes of low-income women of colour in the City. In a new report titled "If low Income Women of Colour Counted in Toronto," they call for the City to implement concrete initiatives for change.
Based on discussions with more than a hundred and twenty women in nine of Toronto's low income neighbourhoods, the report finds that the women are isolated, overworked, subject to racism and discrimination, and chronically poor. Most have trouble finding jobs and most say the have nowhere to go to meet women or neighbours. Contrary to popular stereotypes of low-income people as abusers of public resources, few of them know about critical City services and supports.
The situation is urgent and cannot be ignored any longer, according to Report author Punam Khosla. "Women of colour are easily a quarter of Toronto's residents, too often they live on a shoestring in overcrowded and overpriced housing. In spite of this they contribute an enormous amount to our city by making the impossible, possible for their communities. It's simply not OK to let them keep falling through the cracks of public policy and public life."
The report calls for implementation of Eight Initiatives to Kick Start Change:
- A community-based network of cross-cultural, women's drop-in houses in low-income neighbourhoods across the City
- LiveSafe - a pass/fail campaign to ensure landlord compliance with maintenance standards in public and private rental housing
- Improved Transit access through discounted Metropasses & an inquiry into racism and discrimination on the TTC
- A training program for front-line workers who support survivors of violence against women in low-income and racialized communities
- Get women involved in public recreation programs by eliminating fees for single parents and their children, vastly expanding women-only programs, and building recreation centres in low-income neighbourhoods
- A multi-lingual, citywide information campaign to inform women of their rights, and available services and supports across the City
- Public Health to review racialized women's experiences with health services
- Support for a cross-cultural women's social planning group
Download the report, If Low Income Women of Colour Counted in Toronto, at www.socialplanningtoronto.org (click on Research & Policy Updates)