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Old Posted Jul 11, 2013, 12:48 PM
movingtohamilton movingtohamilton is offline
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Poverty Inc.

Is there a poverty industry in Hamilton? Andrew Robertson, writing in the July issue of Urbanicity, believes there is and it controls many downtown neighbourhoods.

I haven't figured out how to provide a link to the article. But you can pick up the print edition in many places downtown. If you get a chance to read it, I'm very interested in your opinion. Seems to me that "poverty inc." is a taboo subject in Hamilton.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2013, 8:51 PM
Duckyboy Duckyboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by movingtohamilton View Post
Is there a poverty industry in Hamilton? Andrew Robertson, writing in the July issue of Urbanicity, believes there is and it controls many downtown neighbourhoods.

I haven't figured out how to provide a link to the article. But you can pick up the print edition in many places downtown. If you get a chance to read it, I'm very interested in your opinion. Seems to me that "poverty inc." is a taboo subject in Hamilton.
Oh man... IS THERE EVER!!!! Pretty sure you just opened up a very, very lively topic...
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  #3  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2013, 1:05 AM
bigguy1231 bigguy1231 is offline
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As someone who at one time worked in the social services field I can state unequivocally that there is a thriving Poverty industry in this city.

Many of the people who are classed as impoverished would be offended at the thought, yet they are included in the numbers to justify continued and increasing funding.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2013, 2:47 PM
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Pearlstreet Pearlstreet is offline
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Just another whining landlord...

Being a landlord I face this head on. People riding their social services like an art form. I just had a tenant, now evicted, move because my property was turned into what I called 'Hotel Hamilton'. YMCA charges $25 a night stay, my tenants would charge $35, then split a case of beer and have money left over. It was considered a win - win for them. Also, the unmetered landry never stopped running. There is a power in numbers trend to the way these people live. An allowance is given for housing them, which they can split multiple ways (in this case four ways), plus revenue for storing peoples junk, sleeping over, etc. After splitting for groceries and living expenses they were taking in better earnings than me!

Here is the real kicker, upon mentioning possible evicition to make the illegal subletting abuse stop, I was presented with a court summons with outragious accusations, not to mention the wrong address on it. This summons was made up by a neighbour friend of theirs who befriended them for the use of free laundry. As pay back for the eviction, he said he would 'get even'. His asset was that he was well versed in manipulating the already baised tenant landlord laws. So it is not all about money when there is little there, it is about twisting and manipulating the balls of the landlord or social services system to insure there is cashflow. This is a practiced art form! Beware of well versed social services users.

During the one year leased stay, shortened to six months, the tenant supplied with a new electric chair like many you see ripping around here had cycled through three of them. The first one was worn out due to everyone using it as their communal vehicle. The second one mysteriously got stolen with a charger they always had stored inside. There is no coinsidence that it is worth a substantial penny if sold. The money spent by social services... I have a headache.
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Last edited by Pearlstreet; Jul 13, 2013 at 11:17 AM.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2013, 5:35 PM
HillStreetBlues HillStreetBlues is offline
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I just managed to track down the article. Thanks, movingtohamilton, for pointing it out. My two cents are as follows:

I grew up in London, traditionally a fairly conservative town. My parents lived in Lower City Hamilton (on East Ave near Main) in the 70s and 80s, and laugh a bit at me when I talk about Hamilton "turning the corner" and such. Their opinion (this is theirs, and I'm paraphrasing) is that many Hamiltonians "fetishize" poverty, and too many people depend on it for their livelihoods for anything but the status quo to happen in much of the City. A lot of folks I know who have past experience with Hamilton say something similar.

I've lived in several different cities in southern Ontario, and never met so many people in social services as I did in my first year in Hamilton. I would meet an architect, and her firm's bread-and-butter is "affordable housing" (what I would call subsidized housing). I'd meet a consultant, and the company he works for mostly does studies for United Way and Good Shepherd. Somehow, I know a bunch of welfare case workers, counsellors for not-for-profits, people who do I-don't-know-what for Public Health or Hamilton Housing. These people are all Hamilton residents and themselves great additions to the community. But I can't tell them that, unless Burlington and Oakville provide some social services, Hamilton is going to continue to accept their most-vulnerable, who will be even more trapped in the cycle of poverty in Downtown or East Hamilton, many neighbourhoods of which are in a real sense ghettos. I can't even tell them that spending on these services in Hamilton should do something other than go up, up, up. It's hard to discuss with them, but they seem to have an idea of poverty as almost noble. If you think it's something that we should be fighting against, instead of serving, that's wrong.

In KW, downtown Kitchener struggled for a long while with the fact that Waterloo resisted any social services in their municipality, knowing what they lead to. Downtown Kitchener became the service centre for poverty, and has been generally an unpleasant place to be. That's changing now, and part of it has been because some social services (things like parole and welfare offices, and NFPs) have been slowly moving to other areas. There's still plenty of poor people around, of course, but there are more of other types of people, too, which bring the services that actually make life better for everyone.
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Old Posted Jul 12, 2013, 6:15 PM
movingtohamilton movingtohamilton is offline
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Great post, Hillstreetblues. I agree that poverty is fetishized. I also observe that those in poverty are elevated to "innocent lamb" status. This status helps those who are gaming the system, and does nothing substantial to help people in dire straits.

The real "innocents" are children living in poverty, who are obviously completely dependent on adults for their well-being and whose outcomes later in life are being compromised today. Child poverty in Hamilton is rampant.

The poverty industry "stakeholders" have many reasons to maintain the status-quo, even when their efforts are sincere. As you wrote: "It's hard to discuss with them, but they seem to have an idea of poverty as almost noble. If you think it's something that we should be fighting against, instead of serving, that's wrong."

It's hard to fight poverty when it's not seen as a fight.
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Old Posted Jul 12, 2013, 6:25 PM
drpgq drpgq is offline
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I've haven't read the article yet, but I plan too. My hope has been that as people from Toronto move into some of these neighbourhoods and gentrify them, that rents will go up, shared housing converted back to single houses etc. and some people will ship off to St. Catharines and Brantford.

Hamiltonians that grew up on the Mountain or the like generally avoid moving to these neighbourhoods, however Torontoians have often seen worse and don't care. Which is good for the city.
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