Three young people with developmental disabilities attended and actively participated in the Leadership Forum on Poverty Reduction held in Toronto on November 17, 2008.
Cathy Lemon, Kenny Freeman, and Veronica Peake, all partners in a small catering enterprise called Lemon & Allspice – The Coffee Shed, framed their own declaration on poverty reduction in solidarity with the 25 in 5 Network.
With the support of Carolyn Lemon of Common ground Co-operative Inc., they wrote and submitted to the 25 in 5 Network:
- People with developmental disabilities are living in poverty.
- Poverty among people with developmental disabilities is hidden.
- Many are looked after by their families.
- Most want to be more independent.
- Families are aging.
- We need a poverty reduction programme that includes people with disabilities so as their families die and move away.
- We want to make other people with disabilities who work in our business partnerships more aware of the poverty issues and how important it is to each individual in the partnership.
During the part of the program on November 17 when questions were drawn from the participants, these three business partners asked why half the money that they make on the profit from the sale of their goods is taken back from their ODSP benefits. They did not think that this was fair.
All present in the Leadership Forum agreed that money earned by recipients of OW or ODSP should not be clawed back until they were out of poverty.
Information about Lemon & Allspice can be found at www.commongroundco-op.ca .