Brief update on Waterloo Regional budget regarding cancellation of CSUMB

We will be providing you all with a fuller update on the CSUMB “replacement” program as soon as Waterloo Regions plans for the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) are decided on.  We’re told that OW caseworkers will be given trainings in upcoming weeks.

Regional Council voted on the budget on January 16th.  Sadly, they did not vote in a manner that represents care for vulnerable folks.  Despite the prominence that the issue received in the public hearings, in the end there was minimal attention paid to issues of poverty as creative-class transit issues, police budgets and gentrification captured the drifting imagination of our Council and their peers in the poverty industry.

Read an article about the vote here:

Note how Waterloo Regional Council continues to neglect the cuts to the CSUMB and too quickly conflates housing into the new discretionary model.  There is a pattern of confusion despite much public intervention.

As we’ve noted, there are not firm details yet, but what we know at this point is that the plans laid out so far are unacceptable.  Here is an outline that has been floated by the Region’s Director of Employment, Income Support and Social Services.

The failures to resist these cuts and to push for an acceptable local solution is as much the fault of the professional poverty industry as it is the fault of a docile Regional Council.  The mainstream poverty industry (after many meetings) initially drafted a letter to the Region which asked for $2 million dollars to close the gap in the funding.  Then someone had to point out to them that the Region was already considering a proposal of 2.5 million. So then these so-called ‘poverty advocates’ sought $2.5 million in additional funding.  Then, at the vote a Councilor who cares for the poor, showed them what advocacy looks like and pushed for $3 million.

The reasons that these “experts” in the poverty industry give to explain their continued collusion simply don’t add up.  They repeat the empty talking point about the need to “be at the table” – which is the most overt symbol of their choice to maintain personal vanity (and their own funding) rather than seek real change. In this process, they demonstrated that, once at the table, they will actually advocate for less money than the uninformed (and largely uninterested) Regional Council was considering!!! Another excuse given is the completely nonsensical phrase that we love to hate: the ever-confusing wish to “not be partisan” which is used to silence any opposition to any choice made by any government.  This need to “not be partisan” is used to say: ‘we just need to make do with what the powers have chosen to do’- they won’t speak out strongly and clearly against policy or cuts! Instead, they stress the importance of ‘positive messages’ and ‘constructive dialogue’, that in reality is only about the preservation of their own place within the system.  We’re talking about people whose jobs it is to advocate for the poor!  These excuses illustrate the petty desires of some people to simply be associated with systems of power.  We invite them to awaken to the power of the people.

All power to the people.

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