Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sunday, October 30, 2016

What to tell people who now expect you to go into university because it's "free" for poor people in Ontario

So now that the government has been talking about introducing grants or whatever to low-income students, poor people across Ontario are probably getting flack for not jumping at the opportunity to attend university.

This is what happens. Governments make it look like something's available, and the public is split into two groups: those who don't need the program but now think it does things it doesn't do, and those who do need the program and end up finding out they can't access it, or that it doesn't work. There's all these myths that the public has in their heads about poor people, about the free stuff we can get, which we can't actually get. About drug rehab programs that don't exist. Stuff like that. Now we can add education to that list. A lot of people already thought that ODSP would pay for people's education. Now that misconception can be expected to expand. So we're going to get even more flack than we already do, for not taking advantage of opportunities that aren't actually there.

Probably the most powerful limitation of the program is that it doesn't apply to part-time students. So you have to take the plunge 100% and be a full-time student in order to apply to have free tuition. That excludes a lot of people right off the bat.

The government has been ultra vague about the program. Apparently it applies to people whose parents make less than 50k a year. So does it apply to people whose parents are outside Ontario? And how are people expected to document their parents' earnings?

Another big limitation is that people must first be accepted into a university program, and then apply for a grant. So does that mean that the grant is actually a loan, meaning it's not actually free? And is there a limit to the number of people who will be given the grant? Will there be waiting lists? Who knows. Anybody who's applied for the HSF knows about the difference between public perception and policy reality. The public thinks poor people can have their moving expenses paid for, and poor people end up using shopping carts and the TTC to move.

So it'll be interesting to see how this actually works out. For a program that's supposed to come into play very, very soon, there's not much information available.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A bunch of updates after the site went stale for awhile

So... the site went stale over the past year, as in the calendar drifted out of date with some important bits of info, which is pretty terrible. It's bad. There is really nothing worse than showing up to someplace, hungry, hoping to find free food, and facing a locked door. That's bad.

So everything up to October 28 in the comments on the calendar page has been added. Those who made these comments are awesome. And it's apparent that a page should probably be added for meal reviews, complaints, etc. Maybe that'll happen.

Anyone with intel to report on mealtimes and stuff is highly encouraged to do so on the calendar page.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Get to the Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank now

TVFB is once a month. The door's locked. There's usually someone right there to open it for you. So don't have a heart attack if the first thing you encounter is a building with no signs up, but it's the right address, and there's people inside, but the door's locked. It's okay.

This place has no catchment zone. But they're very carefully vetting everyone because they're terrified that someone with a job might come here for vegetables. Those evil working poor people. And they're very careful about excluding meat-eaters. Sort of. They're very careful to make everybody say that they're at least avoiding meat. So consider yourself effectively vetted.

Open from noon to 4pm, they serve amazing soup along with their stuff. Most of what they hand out is beautiful whole vegetables. That's why it's worth it. Some of their stuff isn't ripe and never ripens. Just like grocery store food!

People travel 30km round trip to come to this place. Families from all over the GTA descend on this downtown Toronto spot to tap this rare access to vegetables. Still no nuts, not much fruit, but whatever. It's equivalent to a haul from The Stop's food bank.