Peterborough is no stranger to the issue of homelessness.
Walking downtown, it wouldn’t take long to spot a few disenfranchised souls wandering the street, sometimes offering a friendly “hello,” and a gracious “thank you,” as the change you’ve decided you can spare hits the bottom of an empty coffee cup.
These types of homeless people are the ones that come to mind when we begin to ponder the issue; however, this is just one form of homelessness.
The Toronto Star published a comprehensive article on Feb. 15 entitled Family homelessness on the rise and outlined many of the issues that contribute to the emergence of homeless families, whether it be a layoff at work or a disability forcing parents into welfare programs and devastating their way of life.
For students, it’s well known that our futures, unfortunately, are eerily unknown.
For most of us living off campus, we are on our own when it comes to buying groceries, or finding a way home for the weekend or holidays to see the folks or significant others; both of which are expenses that are steadily rising in price every year, which furthers our generation’s label as the “failure to launch” era.
For those feeling the squeeze at the grocery store, specifically with fruits, veggies and some meat products, with pork rising the most drastically, there are a few different explanations as to why you’re emptying your bank account just to have a decent meal.
Researchers from the University of Guelph Food Institute have chalked this inflation up to the decreasing value of our loonie.
“The main driver is the value of the loonie, which has fallen 14 per cent to just above 73 cents US. With 81 per cent of vegetables, fruit and nuts imported from outside of Canada, all of these grocery items are more expensive and are set to become even pricier as the loonie falls further.”
Other researchers have attributed this inflation – in part with the decrease of the loonie – to the drought this past summer that swept through California and other Western States.
So, unfortunately, until the loonie recovers from it’s drastic decline, Canadians will continue to bite the bullet at the grocery store.
When it comes to transportation, some Trent students don’t realize how good a deal they are getting with the city transit passes, but for those tasked with taking GO transit home to loved ones, there is one thing that could drastically cut back your expenses.
Get a Presto pass today. Metrolinx approved yet another fare increase that came into effect Feb. 1.
However, with this increase they also approved increased savings for the Presto users, especially student Presto users, who will enjoy a savings of up to 18.4 per cent per trip!
Unfortunately, students are not only subject to a relatively impoverished lifestyle while in school, as many are not able to work more than about 20 hours a week, and that is if they are very lucky.
With the Peterborough economy the way it is, many leave Trent with distressing amounts of debt. This puts those who are afflicted at a serious disadvantage when trying to make their way in life after school.
With the employment rate at a depressing low, it will force most Trent graduates out of Peterborough, and for those venturing to the GTA it wouldn’t be expected that many will be able to afford to buy their own home within the next ten years.
As the housing market skyrockets seemingly by the hour, future graduates will have no choice but to bunk with loved ones for a while or continue to rent and say good-bye to that money. And so the snowball begins to roll.
Fortunately most of us who graduate with higher education won’t succumb to severe poverty, although the future is never clear and any number of things can happen to disenfranchise you or your family at any moment.
That’s why there has been such a steady increase of activist groups that are tackling this issue to work for the people that need it most.
One example in town here is the Warming Room, a small group of volunteers doing all they can to help those that need it most.
There are other groups, such as Raising the Roof and the Toronto-based Young Parents No Fixed Address (YPNFA) that are there to address the issue and raise awareness.
If you’re interested in these topics and would like to learn more about the economic state of Peterborough, I would suggest looking into an article written by Electric City Magazine’s David Tough entitled Three Faces of the Jobs Crisis.
I guess the good news is, those who believe us to be the “failure to launch” generation have low expectations for us. Let’s prove them wrong.