Incomes Too Low for Many Peterborough Residents to Put Food on the Table
Written by Communications, February 4, 2020
Peterborough Public Health Releases New Report: Limited Incomes: No Money for Food is Cent$less
Peterborough Public Health has released its latest report looking at incomes in relation to the local cost of food and housing. This report shows that after paying for food and housing alone, there is little, if any money left over for many residents.
“This doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Lauren Kennedy, Registered Dietitian at Peterborough Public Health. “Although we have seen an increase in the cost of food this year, the problem is not food costs. The bottom line is that incomes are too low.” For example, Kennedy noted, healthy food costs for a single 40-year-old man are calculated to be $315 per month. If this man is receiving Ontario Works benefits, 38% of his monthly income would be needed for food. After paying for food and shelter costs, he would be in a deficit of $224 each month. This is also before paying for other costs of living such as utilities, phone, cleaning supplies, clothing, medical costs, and transportation. This illustrates how people are forced to cut their food budgets for other necessities.
“When people don’t have enough money to afford food, they are more vulnerable to health problems and chronic diseases,” said Kennedy. “This also puts a strain on the healthcare system, and is linked with higher annual healthcare costs.”
Getting to the root of the problem in Peterborough means addressing inadequate incomes. An important strategy to help residents put food on the table is through social assistance rates that match the cost of living, and policies such as a basic income guarantee. Another important strategy is local uptake of Peterborough’s 2019 living wage, and for Peterborough employers to become certified living wage employers.
Kennedy added, “Working towards increasing incomes is critical if we want to see long-term improvements in nutrition, health, and well-being in our community.”
For further information, please contact:
Lauren Kennedy, Registered Dietitian
705-743-1000, ext. 263