Rent too high for working poor in Greater Montreal

By Kevin Woodhouse

According to Centraide, someone is considered to be poor or living below the poverty line if more than 63 per cent of their monthly income is spent on lodging, food and clothing.

For at least half a million residents within the Greater Montreal area, this is their reality. The non-profit organization has determined that one out of every four people on the island of Montreal lives below the poverty line.

For example, a single mother who has 40 hours of employment every week at minimum wage lives below the poverty line as single parent families make up almost a third of all those who live in poverty.
People living alone, especially senior citizens, new Canadians and children under the age of six all fall into the vulnerable category and are most susceptible to living below the poverty line.

Centraide has deduced that a single person who lives on less than $1,531 a month or $1,863 for a single mother and child as both cases, it costs between 40 per cent to almost 80 per cent of their salaries for rent and food.
The agency noted that when someone has to spend more than 30 per cent of their total monthly income on rent, other basic needs have to be set aside.
Another example provided to show how hard it is to budget and adhere to was of a single mother who works 35 hours at minimum wage and must provide for her and her teenage son.
With earnings of $1,463 a month, it is estimated her grocery bill for her and her 14-year-old son would be about $511 with $737 going towards rent, leaving the mother and son a scant $215 for the rest of the month, not a realistic number at $49.45 left per week.
That doesn’t leave enough for the two to get a car or both have a public transportation monthly pass as well as pay electricity bills which will be rising in April, pay off previous debts or handle emergency needs.

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