Homeless in Calgary?

So I’m reading some news and I find this little gem of an article: “Counting Calgary’s Homeless” and decided it’s time for another one of my patented “Why are you homeless in Calgary?” rants.

One shelter for the homeless in Calgary – the Mustard Seed – estimates that up to 60 per cent of its residents are working. In March 2007, the Calgary Drop-In Centre, Canada’s largest shelter, reported that just over 40 per cent of its residents worked more than 32 hours a week. The Calgary food bank reports that the majority of its clients are working poor.

Okay, lets do some math here. First, lets assume that “more then 32 hours a week” means “32 hours a week”. Second, with Tim Horton’s hiring for $12/hour, and no less then a dozen signs in the NE industrial park hiring at $15/hour and up, lets assume everyone is making $13/hour.

(For those job hunting, get on buses 72, 73, or 32. On bus 72/73, keep your eyes open between Deerfoot and 36th St. On 32, on 12th street and 27th Ave. If you can’t find the signs, either the positions were filled in the last 5 hours, or you’re too stupid to work said jobs anyway)

So, $13/hour*32hours is $416/week. $416/week is $21,705/year, or assuming a standard 26-cheque year, that’s $1664/month, with two additional cheques.

$1664.00 isn’t a lot in this town you say? Well, maybe not. Lets see. First, comes income tax. As it turns out, you’re paying 14% combined income tax, CPP and EI. This leaves you with $1331.20 each month.

Next is rent. How about a nice three bedroom townhouse?

$1395/month.
$16/month mandatory property insurance (okay, you can probably do better, I’m paying about that myself, but I have a few optional add-ons)
$350/month power+water+sewer through Easymax.
$75.90/month What the heck, lets even throw in internet, basic cable and telephone, all through Shaw.ca

So we’re up to $1395+$16+$350+$75.90, or $1836.90/month. Now remember, this is a three bedroom, lets assume you have a roommate, so $1836.90/2 is $918.45/month each.

So, income is $1331.20/month, rent and utilities are $918.45/month, a bit of quick math and we have $412.75/month. Not a lot, but certainly enough for a $20/month prepaid mobile phone, $75/month bus pass and some food.

Not enough left over? Well, add a third roommate. Why pay $918.45/month when you could pay a lot less, how does $612.30/month sound? Or, with $1331.20/month and three roommates, that’s $718.90/month left over. Again, take off $75 for a bus pass, splurge and get the $30 phone plan, still have $613.90 to cover food.

Oh, and all of this assumes you have no real skills. Timmy’s will teach you what you need, most of the jobs advertised on signs in the NE industrial park are call center or manual labour.

You might not be livin large, but seriously, want to live indoors? Or just live homeless.

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