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Housing conditions among social assistance families : implications for rental allowances in social assistance… Wilson, Warren Andrew 1955

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iHOUSING CONDITIONS AMONG SOCIAL ASSISTANCE FAMILIES Implications for Rental Allowances In Social Assistance and Low-Rental Housing.Needs by WARREN ANDREW WILSON Tresis Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK in the School of Social Work Accepted as conforming to the standard required for the degree of Master of Social Work School of Social Work 1955 The University of British Columbia V ABSTRACT Housing conditions are, of course, mentioned frequently i n s o c i a l work f i l e s and case records, but there i s no standardi-zation of descriptive information, and few systematic or periodic surveys. Housing conditions among s o c i a l assistance f a m i l i e s have not been studied as much as might be supposed. A- s p e c i a l point i s that many s o c i a l assistance f a m i l i e s have only one parent; f o r broken families the influences of good or bad housing are more pro-nounced. The present study i s a survey of housing conditions among s o c i a l assistance f a m i l i e s , based on a sample and revealing the types of shelter a v a i l a b l e , the costs of such s h e l t e r , and i t s q u a l i t y and adequacy f o r the f a m i l i e s who Inhabit i t . I t i s also an essay on method: (a) a simple schedule was devised, appropriate fo r summarizing basic housing information i n case f i l e s : (b) class-i f i c a t i o n s or subdivisions by which housing can be r e l a t e d to family circumstances were developed. By nature the f a m i l i e s c l a s s i f y themselves Into those who are paying more than the r e n t a l allowance and those who are paying l e s s . The actual study divides i t s e l f i n t o three areas: (a) c r i t e r i a of adequacy, (b) budget as-pects of rent and costs, (c) some tentative methods of r e l a t i n g housing conditions to e f f e c t s on family l i f e , differences In family s t a b i l i t y and a t t i t u d e s , and the family's a b i l i t y to manage on a l i m i t e d income. The l a t t e r involve ratings and judgements by s o c i a l workers, but they are explorations i n an area which has im-portant welfare s i g n i f i c a n c e . Information f o r the study was obtained from the Vancouver C i t y S o c i a l Service Department records of s o c i a l assistance fami-l i e s , from interviews with the workers assigned to each family, and from relevant l i t e r a t u r e on housing and on welfare p o l i c y . Many of the families were found to be paying rent In ex-cess of th e i r shelter allowance. There i s also considerable i n c i d -ence of inadequacy of shelter. Payment of extra rent does not • nece s s a r i l y insure adequate s h e l t e r , because the avai l a b l e amount of s a t i s f a c t o r y housing Is l i m i t e d . Suites, apartments, and rooms are the most prevalent type of housing f o r s o c i a l assistance fami-l i e s , but also the most inadequate. Single-family housing i s hard to obtain. Housing of t h i s type may involve budget d i f f i c u l t i e s or expedients (including "doubling up") to make i t possible. The implications of the study as seen i n the concluding chapter Include (a) the adequacy of the s o c i a l assistance grant, (b) the p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r s o c i a l work services, and (c) the relevance of public "low-rent" housing projects. i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1. Development of the Housing Problem for Social  Assistance Families Page The significance of housing. Social worker's concern with housing. Housing problems in Vancouver: Recent history. Current social assistance in Vancouver. Cur-rent housing picture. Method of study 1 Chapter 2. Housing Conditions Types of shelter. Prevailing rents. Effect of shel-ter on the family: A rating. Types of deficiencies. Hous-ing differentials caused by family size and income. Summary 30 Chapter 3. The Cost of Housing and Its Effect on Families  and their Budgets Rent in relation to the social assistance grant. Qual-i t y of shelter. Ability to manage and family attitudes. Summary. .54 Chapter 4. Housing for Low-Income Families Findings of the study. Implications for social work-ers and social assistance. Public housing 87 Appendices: A. City Social Service Department District Majb> of Vancouver ^ 99 B. Distribution of cases sampled as compared to total number of cases in each family size.......100 0. Questionnaire-schedule used to implement the study 101 D. Supplementary tables used in Chapter 2 .103 E. Supplementary tables used i n Chapter 3 109 TABLES AND CHARTS IN THE TEXT (a) Tables Table 1. Range of social assistance grants between 1947 and 1952 inclusive, inoluding shelter portion of the grant 18 Table 2. City Social Service Department social assist-ance rates compared with actual rents paid by recipients 19 Page Table 3. Composition and number of families included in survey — . .30 Table 4. Average cost of furnished and unfurnished rental units of various types and the frequency of their occurrence 38 Table 5. Relationship between type of shelter and provision of u t i l i t i e s in the rent 38 Table 6. Relationship between provision of u t i l i t i e s by the landlord and the rental fee 40 Table. 7. Comparison of income and rent between low-income families and social assistance families 59 Table 8. Comparison of social assistance, actual rents, and "appropriate" proportion 61 Table 9. Comparisons between rental allowance and adequacy.67 Table 10. Comparisons between type of shelter and adequacy..67 Table 11. Comparison between rent and rental allowance for broken and whole families 69 Table 12. Relationship between length of time family known to agency and family's a b i l i t y to manage on a limited income........ ^... •. 73 Table 13. Comparison between a b i l i t y to manage and rental pattern 74 Table 14. Relationship between attitude toward agency and (A) excess rent, (B) adequacy of shelter, and (C) a b i l i t y to manage 80 Table 15. Relationship between family s t a b i l i t y and (A) excess rent, (B) adequacy of shelter, and (c) a b i l i t y to manage 82 Table 16. Relationship between family's outlook on l i f e and (A) excess rent, (B) adequacy of shelter and (C) a b i l i t y to manage. .85 (b) Charts Fig. 1. Families paying more or less than overall median rent (according to type of accommodation) 34 Fig. 2. Percentage of families l i v i n g in each of the three qualities of shelter in relation to overall median rent 43 Fig. 3. Adequacy rating for five types of shelter 46 i v Fig. 4. Frequency of occurrence of defects in relation to median rent 48 Fig. 5. Relationship between adequacy of shelter and family size. 51 Fig. 6. Relationship between family size and income and median rent paid ...51 Fig. 7. Distribution of defects for residences renting for more or less than rental allowance 65 Fig. 8. Relationship between quality of housing and a b i l i t y to manage on a limited income 71 Fig. 9. Distribution of attitudes to agency among the sampled famili es 79 Fig. 10. Family attitudes within satisfactory or provisional and poor quality housing 79 Fig. 11. Family s t a b i l i t y within satisfactory or provisional and poor quality housing... 83 Fig. 12. Family outlook on l i f e within satisfactory or provisional and poor housing 86 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would, like to express my sincere appreciation to Mr. James Chambers and Mr. Theodore H i l l of the City Social Service De-partment for their complete cooperation and help, and to the social work and clerical staff for their invaluable assistance and patience. It was their Interest and coopera-tion that made this study possible. Appreciation is accorded to Dr. Leonard C. Marsh of the School of Social Work for his continued guidance and willing assist-ance, and finally to my wife for her encourage-ment, understanding and labor. HOUSING CONDITIONS AMONG SOCIAL ASSISTANCE FAMILIES1 CHAPTER I DEVELOPMENT OF THE HOUSING PROBLEM FOR SOCIAL ASSISTANCE FAMILIES In the words of Edith Abbott, "It Is impossible to say what effect bad living conditions have on the lives of the poor, so interwoven are a l l the difficulties of human beings whose lives are a constant struggle to maintain reasonably decent T homes on the small earnings of the poor." Almost everybody would agree that housing conditions do play a part in the lives of families; because of this, social work is concerned with shelter and it s effects on the family. "There i s hardly any phase of human endeavor that is not affeoted by the conditions under which people live." The problem of housing particularly affects everybody because shelter i s one of the basic necessities of family l i f e without which the family can hardly f u l f i l l its function as a primary unit of society. Housing has many effects on the family. The type and quality of the shelter directly influence family l i f e and can 1. Edith Abbott, The Tenements of Chicago 1908-1935. (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1936) p.485. 3. Ibid., citing statement of Senator Wagner of New York before Senate Committee on Education and Labor, 74th Cong., 2nd sess. (Hearings) on S.4423, April 20-29, 1936, when Housing Aot for 1936 was under consideration. 3. Housing Vancouver, abridged report issued April 1947, of a report issued March 1946 by Vanoouver Housing Associa-tion, p. 10. 2 create many problems, e.g., cramped quarters, inconveniences, poor health, and curtailing of family activities. The physical conditions of shelter are especially significant to each family member and are personally felt by them. The excessive cost of shelter can also play an important part in family l i f e . Exorbi-tant housing costs very realistically place a limitation on the goods and services a family can command. These two divisions of the housing problem, housing conditions and budget management, offer a convenient two-fold method of examining the housing situa-tion and will be followed throughout the study. In examining the effect on the family of poor housing conditions, the question might be asked: Does the home meet the physical needs of the family? Is there adequate space, and are the utilities such as light, heat, and cooking facilities satis-factory for the number of persons who are dependent upon them? The residence should be of sound construction, relatively free from dangers of fire and accidents, and in a good state of repair. Many families are living in quarters whose physical standards are below those conducive to good family l i f e . The lack of u t i l i t i e s may prevent the preparation of an adequate meal, or cooking might involve so much additional work that the mother feels i t is not worth the trouble to prepare healthful dinners. The home may re-quire an excessive amount of work to keep clean, which would mean i t i s likely left dirty much of the time. As a result, the family is unhappy, and the housewife is overly tired. There may be i n -adequate laundry and washing fa c i l i t i e s . If this i s the case, i t could involve the expense of sending laundry out, or of the cloth-ing not being as clean as i t should be. There are other things 3 such as lighting, crowding, and sleeping facilities which would not inhibit the family from occupying the home, but would cause discomfort. Although many families in inadequate housing are managing well enough to stay together, the poor physical standards are so influential that the family i s unable to enjoy a normal and happy family l i f e , and the results may be seen later in the character of the children. A l l of the effects of poor housing do not appear at once. Housing, to be adequate, must meet the health needs of the family. Proper room temperature, cleanliness, adequate in-door and outdoor illumination, and sufficient play space are a l l necessary. It is imperative to avoid continual dampness or dxafty rooms. Fresh air must be available, and yet able to be controlled, in accordance with the room temperature and the weather. This i s especially important i f young children are in the home. A mortal-ity study in Cincinnati in 1949, 1950, and 1951, found that in substandard housing areas infants died 50 per cent more from pre-ventable causes than did infants in non-slum areas. 1 It cannot be said that poor housing is the single cause of i l l health, but i t is a contributing factor in any situation where housing condi-tions adversely affect the individual. Fully as necessary as physical standards are conditions suitable for the fulfilment of wholesome family l i f e . If the family is to live happily and normally, i t should have privacy 1. Bleeker Marquette, Public Welfare. "The Relation-ship Between Community Social Welfare Agencies and Housing", Vol. 12, Ho. 11, April, 1954, p. 65. 4 and adequate sleeping space, opportunities for normal family l i f e and recreation, normal community l i f e , facilities to perform nor-mal household tasks without undue mental or physical fatigue, and facilities for cleanliness of person and dwelling. As important as the house it s e l f , i s the neighborhood in which the residence is located. The location of the home and the surrounding environ-ment play an important part in adult l i f e and also in the charac-ter development of children. Many things in the neighborhood may handicap the lives of children and parents. It may be unsightly and excessively dirty.. It may be dangerous because of ohildren forced to play in streets and alleys through the lack of recrea-tion space. The neighborhood may abound with taverns and houses of i l l repute. None of these are conducive to healthy family development. The degree to which the shelter complements the per-formance of normal family functions is important. Housing is one of the basic influences on physical and mental illness. The crowding, which many tenant families are subjected to, might be a source of considerable stress to the family.-'- The home may either encourage harmony and cordial relations within the family,, or because of crowding or poor neighborhood, may be an invitation to amplify a l l the disagreements, undercurrents, and problems which naturally plague every family, but which are minimized by a pleasant home environment. If i t is not a pleasant home, these difficulties are encouraged and cause disharmony, going so far on 1. Maureen Ethel Evans, Living on a Marginal Budget, (Master of Social Work thesis), The University of British Columbia Vancouver, British Columbia, 1953, p. 91, 5 occasion as to bring about the disintegration of the family. Just how important family relations are, was indicated in a studyviof the Family Welfare Bureau case load for September, 1954, It showed that in the area of rooming houseB, tenements, converted stores, and overcrowding, (an area bounded by Stanley; Park, Victoria Drive, Burrard Inlet, False Greek and Terminal Ave-nue) family relationships were a contributing factor to 84 per cent of the problems of this district. Eighty-three per cent of the active cases were related to economic difficulties. Of this number 13 per cent were concerned directly with housing problems, 24 per cent with employment problems, and 47 per cent with economic problems. This was not a survey of the total area, but only of those cases active with the Bureau. As this survey indicates, the effect on family l i f e of living at such close quarters, particularly where there are no outside recreational facilities except taverns, theaters, and bowl-ing alleys, needs no emphasis* The frictions involved in the com-mon use of essential plumbing facilities by large numbers of per-sons with varying personal habits, particularly where a large family of children are crowded into one to three rooms, is an ob-vious source of stress and strain for the housewife and mother*1 i The second classification of effects of poor housing i s indirect and refers to the influence of the cost of housing on 1. Survey of Families with Children Living in Shared  Accommodation. Vanoouver Housing ABBoelation, Vancouver, B.C. May 1954, p. 3. 6 the family budget. The accepted standard for the shelter cost is one-fifth of the family's income. For a low-income family, i f housing should cost more than the prescribed 20 per cent of the total income, there is insufficient money left to meet the cost of the remaining necessities and the family is unable to contri-bute i t s maximum to society. 1 The 30 per cent shelter specifica-tion is a mockery to families who are spending 40 to 50 per cent of their income for rent, and yet this excessive expense may be a prerequisite i f they are to find housing suitable for their family, •instances or in many/nousing which, though not suitable, is the only type available. The cost of shelter holds the real key to the entire functioning of the family, and i t is impossible to manage economic-ally without gearing to this basic requirement. If a family is on social assistance, the problem of housing is more acute than for the family with a higher income. The social assistance family is unable to spend any additional money for adequate shelter and i s often unable to find better hous-ing within its limited budget. The grant is usually the only sub-si stance available to the family and they must live on i t . If the assistance grant is allotted on a family expense basis, that i s , computed to the needs of the individual family, that family may be able to manage. If the grant is computed on a"flat-rate"basis with no regard to the cost of Bhelter, then the family has con-siderable difficulty finding housing within the proportion of the grant specified for shelter, and may have to pay for housing at the expense of other family needs. 1. Bryn J. Hovde, "Housing and City Planning," Soolal  Work Year Book. 1954, p. 357. 7 Sooial Worker's Concern with Housing Inherent among basic social work principles is the right of the individual to financial help when he is not able to secure the necessities of l i f e , including adequate shelter, through his own resources.'1' It is this principle which brings professional sooial work into direct contact with the problem of budgeting, i n -come, and rent. The way in which the social work principles apply to rent is not fully understood by social workers. The principle of adequate shelter allowance is accepted, but is not always specifically applied in a l l instances, because social workers do not always know what constitutes adequate shelter. Although the shelter allowance may be inadequate, i t is usually only given minor study. In recent decades social workers have become increasing-ly concerned with the effect of housing on the physical, moral, 2 economic, and psychological well-being of the family. Lately the emphasis on welfare services has increased, but at the same time i t has been additionally recognized that no service can be fully effective unless provision is made for the basic necessities of l i f e . Unless this is done, even on a minimum level, serious social and personal consequences inevitably result. It not only affects the well-being of adults, but also children who may be damaged 1. Financial Assistance. "Philosophy, Principles and Practices in the Giving of Financial Assistance", Canadian Welfare Council, Ottawa, 1954, p. 4. 2. Wilson S. Borland, "Housing and City Planning", Social Work Year Book. 1951, p. 237 8 both emotionally and physically for l i f e . Insufficient food, clothing, housing, and medical care, and the l i k e , may impair the health of the individual and weaken his capacity for self-direction and self-support. 1 Public assistance i s l i f e blood for the family which i s unable to provide for i t s e l f . "Basic financial assistance...should be given on a budget basis as a cash allowance except in situations where the 2 clients are in need of protection for themselves or dependents." Although the assistance grant may be large enough to meet the cost of adequate shelter, i t should also be ample enough to meet this expense and leave a sufficient amount to supply other essen-t i a l s for the entire month. The type of accommodation a family has, i t s general state of repair, and to a large degree the neigh-borhood in which the family l i v e s , are determined very forcibly by the rent the family i s able to pay. If the basic allowance i s insufficient, then the family has even less opportunity to secure shelter which costs no more than 20 to 25 per cent of the family's income. In February, 1951, the British Columbia Mainland Branch of the Canadian Association of Social Workers prepared a brief on social assistance rates. The general findings were that the rates were far from adequate. The brief read in part as follows: We in British Columbia, pride ourselves on a high standard of Social Services but on our present Social Assistance rates people are malnourished, they are un-able to purchase clothing, and many are forced to l i v e 1. "Public Assistance Standards", Public Welfare. Vol. 7, No. 2, p. 26, February ,1949. 2. Financial Assistance. "Philosophy, Principles, and Practices in the Giving of Financial Assistance", (Canadian Welfare Council, Ottawa, Canada, 1954) p.9. 9 in squalor, often in dwellings condemned by the Health authorities. It is unnecessary to point out to you that i f we are to develop healthy individuals capable of talcing their rightful places as productive citizens in our province, this situation must be rectified. It is pointed out that rates of assistance do not live up "either to the letter or the spirit" of Section 3, of the British Columbia Social Assistance Act which states that "Social Assistance may be granted...for the purpose.*.to maintain a reasonably normal and healthy existence..." In their summary, those who prepared the brief stated "...(2) That the shelter allowance be granted on a basis of actual cost to the individual..." 1 The sooial worker is especially concerned because hous-ing problems are enoountered in many cases whioh come to his attention. Not a l l housing inadequacies are found in slums, a l -though i t is readily acknowledged that these areas have their share. Housing plays a part in the problems of those who are living above a minimum standard and are able to afford some of the luxuries of l i f e . The fact that housing has a direct influence on marital discord and family breakup was emphasized by a survey of 135 Family Service Agencies conducted in 1949 by the Family Service Association of America. They discovered that practically a l l the agencies found housing problems seriously disrupting family living for clients at a marginal level. Nearly half of the agencies also 1. Evans, on. c i t . . p. 20-22. 10 noted serious strains and tensions among higher income families as well. The Family Service Association of America recently suggested the following classification l i s t of the most evident housing conditions which caused or aggravated tensions within the family: 1. Inadequate l i v i n g space which would mean that too many people were forced to l i v e i n the shelter available to the family. 2. "Doubling up" of ordinarily separate households. A l -though there might be sufficient space, two families would be using the same f a c i l i t i e s such as bathrooms or kitchens. 3. Substandard quality housing. This could mean anything from the physical condition of the house to the quality of the lighting, heating, or cooking f a c i l i t i e s , and the other ways in which the shelter made extra work for the family, or f a i l e d to contribute to a healthy family l i f e . 4. Inability to procure permanent housing because of high rents and building costs. For one out of every three families bringing their prob-lems to the agencies, housing was a definite part of the d i f f i c u l t y . Tension between husband and wife, was the effect most noted. Other d i f f i c u l t i e s were financial hardship due to disproportionate amount of rent, f r i c t i o n with in-laws, tension between parents and adol-escent children, sharp disagreements between parents and married children. Other important effects of housing shortages were break-up and separation of families unable to find a large enough l i v i n g space, continuing psychological dependence on parents, limited mobility for employment or educational purposes, impaired health, prolonged postponement of marriage and chil d bearing. i n another war survey the City of Newark, New Jersey, made a study of families in i t s public housing, comparing their 11 conditions with families i n similar circumstances to those from which the re-housed families came. The report, which was made when the families had been i n their new homes for only two years, i s careful to warn that other factors than housing may have affected the results. They found disease, accident, and juvenile delinquency rates were much lower among the re-housed groups than the control groups* Other things such as school work, cleanliness, better financial managing, and family happiness seemed to improve.1 The slum area i s of special concern because i t quite l i k e l y has the housing problems found i n other d i s t r i c t s , as well as.the usual slum problems. The slum neighborhood, and conditions within i t , are not satisfactory for normal development nor for the maintenance of good physical health. This i s not to imply that slum areas are the only d i s t r i c t s which have housing problems and poor conditions. Housing Problems i n Vancouver; Recent History' Housing problems have plagued families i n Vancouver for 1. "Housing and Life? Canadian Welfare. (The Canadian Welfare Council, Ottawa, Canada) Vol. 28, No. 6, December 15, 1952, p. 8. 2. Information concerning the history of housing prob-lems was obtained from the Vancouver Housing Association, a p r i -vate organization, and the Vancouver City Social Service Depart-ment, a public government agency. The following description of the Vancouver Housing Association i s taken from the Vancouver Housing Association Bulle-t i n , October, 1948: The Vancouver Housing Association has been prominent i n the f i e l d of housing in Vancouver since 1938, and has taken an active part i n conducting various surveys and studies to bring into focus the need for housing i n this area. I t i s a voluntary association of a l l groups and individuals interested i n securing better housing for Vancouver and the metropolitan area, 12 over a decade. As early as 1939 conditions and rents were becoming a burden to those unable to afford or find better shelter. In addition to the oriental blocks, where much of the oriental population lived, over four hundred row cabins were occupied by white people, one-third of them with families. Most of these were one-story, one-room buildings that were run-down and inadequate, providing usually only a roof and four walls for the family. They had only one outside tap to every four or five cabins and the common toilets were usually decrepit and f i l t h y . As an indication of l i v i n g conditions among the slum areas, i n 1943 the death rate from tuberculosis was 102 per one hundred thousand as compared to p 35.5 per one hundred thousand in the better residential areas. A survey conducted by the Oity Social Service Department i n May 1949, showed that one hundred fifty-three families on and 1B a nonpartioipating member agency of the Community Chest and Council of Greater Vancouver. The Executive Committee represents a wide variety of citizen bodies including the Local Council of Women., the Vancouver Labour Council, the Building Trades Council, the District Council of the Canadian Legion, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Town. Planning Commission, the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, the University of British Columbia, and serv-ice clubs. Objects of the Association axe: 1. Coordination and leadership of groups interested i n housing and community planning; 2. Collection and dissemination.of information including public-i t y and research; 3. Promotion of low-rental housing, slum clear-ance, and neighborhood hostels for single women; 4. Aiding i n the development of administrative standards and procedures, better health and building laws and similar a c t i v i t i e s . 1. Housing Vancouver, abridged report issued April 1947 of report issued March 1946 by Vancouver Housing Association, p. 2. 2. Ibid 13 social assistance were paying an average of s l i g h t l y over #10.00 per month In excess of their rental allowance of $10.00 to $20.00 per month. Removal of rent controls placed even the worst slum dwellings beyond the means of sooial assistance recipients. The result of this combination was a real pressure on the income of the social assistance recipients. The 01ty Social Service Depart-ment report for 1949'stated that the "housing problem i s one of the most serious with which our clients have to contend." The report for 1950 gave much the same pioture as the previous year. Decent housing i s hard to find when one i s able to pay a reasonable rental—impossible to f i n d when rental allowances range from $10.00 a month for a single person to $20.00 for a family of six or more. There was no change to speak of in 1951. A survey by the Vanoouver Housing Association of rooming houses In the West End and i n the downtown di s t r i c t s concluded that families were l i v i n g there only temporarily and were paying $30.00 to #50.00 a month rent, enough to afford a self-contained unit, had i t been available. Families wanted to move, but could f i n d no other place i n which to l i v e . The rent was higher than the lower-income groups could pay, and although quarters i n the area west of Burrard Street were f a i r l y adequate they were not suitable for children. In the area east of Burrard Street families were.living In units slated for condemnation as soon as the families could fi n d other shelter. The City Social Service Department report of 1951 indic-ated no change, saying only that the situation was worse as quart-ers were older, l i v i n g conditions lower, and rents higher. It i s noted that there was l i t t l e recognition by the City of standards 14 for shelter as they were too vague and d i f f i c u l t to enforce legal-l y i n the courts. Fines were not sufficient to deter landlords and enforcement of laws brought undue hardship onto tenants, as housing was not available i n which to move. The most recent rental survey by the City Social Service Department i n June 1955, showed that ninety families were spend-ing an average of from 36 to 43 per cent of the family's income per month for shelter (less family allowance)J1- It should be noted that by far the greater number of persons affected by high.;-: rents were the single men and women, although this i s not des-cribed i n the present study. Social assistance recipients were not only suffering from poor housing conditions and high rents, but also from a serious housing shortage. In May, 1939, the responsible city o f f i c i a l s were sounding a warning note that housing was already beooming a serious problem to those in old and condemned buildings as no other shelter was available to them. There was a vacancy of only one-third of one per cent of available rental units where a vaoancy of 4 to 5 per cent was normal. The housing d i f f i c u l t y i n 1945 and 1946 was not an outgrowth of the war, but a continuation of this pre-war overcrowding. The population of Vancouver increased by 100,000 persons between the beginning of the war and 1946. By December 31, 1946, there were over 4,400 active applications for wartime housing, and the number was increasing. In 1947 twenty-1. Family allowances are not considered income by the City Social Service Department and are not deducted from the grant• 15 five thousand houses were needed to provide each Vancouver fam-i l y with a single contained unit. 1 Some veteran's housing was built i n 1946 to relieve the shortage, but i t was a small amount. The combination of Fraser-view and Renfrew Heights helped the veterans later, but did l i t t l e to relieve the social assistance recipient. The general picture in 1948 was worse than at any previous time and the number of families needing housing was increasing steadily. The City Sooial Service Department report for that year particularly emphasized that low-rental housing was not available for their clients. The Vancouver Housing Association conducted a housing survey i n 1949, by newspaper questionnaire. It revealed that two-thirds of the families who responded wanted rental housing or did not have sufficient income to permit house purchases. The population increase between 1941 and 1951 has been 25.5 per cent for the City of Vancouver alone. Although new houses had increased by 28 per cent, families had increased by 32.5 per cent so "there was s t i l l a f i n a l d e f i c i t for the entire 2 area, with the lowest income bracket being hurt the most." Current Social Assistance in Vancouver Social assistance i s a special category for those needy unemployables who are not eligible for any type of special assist-ance. This form of public assistance i s granted on a "means test" 1. Housing Vancouver, abridged report issued April 1947 of report issued March 1946 by Vancouver Housing Assoc.,p.2. 2. P.R;U. Stratton, "The Housing Scene."Houses for A l l . Proceedings of Housing Conference,Vancouver,B.C.,Jan. iy&4, spon-Kred by Vancouver Housing Assoc. in cooperation with Community anning Association of Canada (B.C. Division) p. 2. 16 basis, only to people who are incapable of working either because of physical or mental infirmity or old age, or having children to care for and who can prove their income and assets do not exceed certain restricted limits. There are a l l types of people on social assistance, including single people, and large and small families. Families form a minority of the total number of r e c i p i -ents, but they also often have the greatest housing d i f f i c u l t i e s * This i s especially l i k e l y of families with three or more members. These families may have one or two adults in them, although the majority of them seem to be composed of a parent and two or more children. This study i s concerned with the three-member families, but this i s not to suggest that single people or two-member fam-i l i e s do not have housing d i f f i c u l t i e s . This could form the basis for a further study. The municipalities and the Social Welfare Branch of the Department of Health and Welfare administer a l l acts pertaining to public assistance. Partial financial responsibility for the sup-port of the indigent rests with the municipality in which the person has "residence" 1 or entirely with the Provincial Social Welfare Branch i f "residence" i s in unorganized territory. Under the terms of the Social Assistance Act the pro-vincial government w i l l share with the municipality the cost of meeting the needs of an individual or family qualifying under the Act, providing certain conditions are met by the local government. The department may withhold money from a municipality i f i t s level 1. As defined i n thePResidence and Responsibility Act." 17 of assistance or service.falls below the provincial standard. The provincial government w i l l reimburse the municipality to the extent of 80 per cent of the amount spent, in keeping with the maximum set forth in the social assistance scale. If the munici-pality finds i t necessary to grant an amount in excess of the maximum provided for in the scale set by the province, that por-tion i s a total charge on the local area responsible. Under the terms of the Act, assistance may be granted i n an amount necessary "to maintain a reasonably normal and healthy existence." The Act makes no statement in specific terms of what constitutes indigency. The regulations set forth the principle that "the needs of the applicant shall be the determining factor i n granting assistance and the amount thereof." The City of Vancouver has i t s own City Social Service Department which i s a separate entity from the provincial Social Welfare Branch and does acquire personnel of i t s own. It works i n conjunction with the Sooial Welfare Branch and qualifies for the "eighty-twenty" formula for assistance to the municipalities. 1 The present social assistance rates i n British Columbia have been in effect since Ap r i l 1, 1954. Five changes have occurred i n the allowances since October, 1947, (Table 1). There were two changes in 1948, and two subsequent changes between then and A p r i l , 1954. Increases have been small and erratic. The median rent paid by 37,435 wage-earner tenant families i n the 1. Evans, op. c i t . . pp. 4-8. 18 ci t y of Vancouver i n 1951 was $43.00.^ This was more than the rent provided at that time for even the largest social assistance families. Table 1. Range of Social Assistance Grants Between  1947 and 1952 Inolusive Including Shelter Portion of Grant Description of Grant and Date Effective No. of People i n the Family 1 3 3 4 5 6 7 8 October 1, 1947 Maximum Grant Shelter Portion 28.35 10.00 40.10 12.00 47.15 13.00 54.20 14.00 61.25 15.00 68.30 16.00 75; 35 17.00 75.35 17.00 Apri l 1, 1948 Maximum Grant Shelter Portion 30.00 10.00 42.50 12.00 50;00 13.00 57.50 14.00 65.00 15.00 72.50 16.00 80.00 17.00 80.00 17.00 July 1, 1948 Maximum Grant Shelter Portion 35.00 10.00 50.00 12.00 58.50 14.00 67.00 16.00 75.50 18.00 84.00 20.00 84.00 20.00 84.00 20.00 Apr i l 1, 1951 Maximum Grant Shelter Portion 40.00 12.50 60.00 17.00 69.50 19*50 79.00 22.00 88.50 24.50 98.00 27.00 107.50 29.50 117.00 29.50 Apr i l 1, 1952 Maximum Grant Shelter Portion 40.00 12.50 62.50 17.00 74.50 19.50 86.50 22.00 98.50 24.50 110.50 27.00 121.50 29.50 133.00 32.50 Source: City Social Service Department Memorandum. At the time of the last increase the provincial Social Welfare Branch, instead of following.the usual pattern of specify-ing the amount to be allotted for various components of the total individual grant, merely suggested a pattern for the municipalities 1. Michael Wheeler, Evaluating the Need for Low-rental  Housing (Provisional Title) Master of Social Work thesis, University of British Columbia, 1955, from 1951 census figures. 19 to follow at their own discretion. Vancouver altered the makeup of i t s grants to individuals, but kept the totals of the individ-ual allowances the same*1 The main difference between the division in the city grant and that of the province i s that the city pre-fers to place more under the item of shelter. The shelter portion of the grant increases by $5.00 for each person included i n the grant, starting at $15.00 for a single individual (TableS). The median rents and the range of rents paid within the various groups are indicated to show the comparison between them and the social assistance shelter allowances. This presents clearly part of the problem of social assistance r e c i p i -ents, finding shelter within their means. Table 2. City Social Service Department Social  Assistance Rates Compared with Actual  Rents Paid by Recipients persons Included Support and Miscellaneous Shelter Total Actual Rents Paid i n Grant Expenses Expense Grant Median Range 1 $30.00 $15.00 $45.00 $ * I 2 49.50 20.00 69.50 * 3 58.50 25.00 83.50 29.50 16.75-75.00 4 67.50 30.00 97.50 40.00 10.50-67*50 5 76.50 35.00 111.50 44.00 19.45-60:00 6 85.50 40.00 125.50 ;38.00) 27.00-44.0.0 7 94.50 45.00 139.50 ,35.25. 35.00-35.. 50 8 103.50 50.00 153.50 , 75.00; 75.00 Not oovered i n this study. ( )Not as applicable as the other median rents due to the smallness of the sample. Source: City Social Service Department Memorandum, April 1, 1954, and sampled social assistance records. 1. Statement by Mr. Theodore H i l l , Assistant Administra-tor, City Social Service Department, Vancouver, B.C.,personal interview. 2. Throughout the study the words "typical", "average", or "median" are used Interchangeably to show median. If reference i s made to the arithmetical mean i t i s described as the mean. 20 Some families are unable to find housing within the cost of their rental allowance. On ocoasion the City Social Service iepartment has attempted to meet part of this'excess" rent. 1 Several times since 1950 the Vancouver City Council has voted an extra sum of money for the City Social Service Department to a l l o t to clients who must pay extra rent. Prior to April 1, 1954, the City of Vancouver was paying up to 75 per cent of the excess rent to a maximum of $15.00 for the recipients of social assistance, depending on certain accommodation requirements and the number of persons included in the grant. The maximum for two people was $12.00 extra; three people, or more, were entitled to a maximum of $15.00. When the social assistance rates were increased i n A p r i l , 1954, the City Social Service Department did not increase the rates for those families who were already receiving, in the form of an extra rental allowance, the equivalent of the increase. The proportion of the grant which was within the new provincial Social Welfare Branch limits was altered so that the previous excess rental was then made the dual responsibility rather than resting solely on the city. In the event that;.the excess rental paid was more than the increase of the provincial I g r x s t s , the grant was not cut, but was continued with the remaining excess s t i l l being paid by the responsible municipality or the provincial government.2 No additional cases have been accepted for extra 1. The terms "excess" or "extra" rent are used inter-changeably to indicate rent which exceeds the rental portion of the assistance grant for that particular family. The term "appropriate" rent indicates rent between 20 and 25 per cent of the grant. 2. Statement by Mr. Theodore H i l l , Assistant Administra-tor, City Social Service Dept.,Vancouver, B.C.personal interview. 21 rent allowance, and the current amount needed for extra rental allowances i s included in the general budget submitted to the city council. Current Housing Picture Today a high proportion of the population of British Columbia i s very well housed; but certain groups are very poorly housed, so poorly in fact, "that the existence of such conditions i n a wealthy community such as [.Vancouver], presents a challenge to our social conscience." 1 The poorly housed include those who could afford ade-quate housing i f i t were available, as well as those who cannot afford to spend more for shelter. . Those who could afford better houses are forced to take what i s available at the rents demand-ed, even though the rent i s normally commensurate with a better standard of housing. . Once rent control i s removed, rent begins to depend on tenants' a b i l i t y to pay rather than on the quality of the rented unit. The group of families l i v i n g on, or just above, social assistance standards cannot afford better housing unless those who have a greater purchasing power are able to find more suitable shelter and relieve the demand for a limited commodity, i.e., inexpensive housing. Disregarding the quality, shelter i s in demand today i f the rent i s low enough, and i f children are accepted; the number of places willing to rent to families with children i s limited. 1. Stratton, op. c i t . . p. 1. 22 In 1951 there were over 13,000 families i n the City of Vancouver sharing accommodation with other families, the greater number of whom would certainly l i v e independently i f they had a choice. 1 A survey of families with children l i v i n g i n shared accommodation'0 i n the winter of 1952 and 1953 gives an indication of the housing problem i n this v i c i n i t y . The survey team v i s i t e d 138 families, not including families of apartment house owners, and believes the total number of families l i v i n g i n lodging house accommodation in this area does not exceed 200 out of about 45,000 persons. Since the period of acute war-housing there has been almost a complete exodus of families with children. The Vancouver Housing Association believes that a large number of families have moved to substandard housing i n the outer districts.where cheap accommodation,in the form of basement suites and housekeeping rooms, has become available through the spread of multiple occup-ancy uses and the i l l e g a l conversion of single-family homes. General characteristics of the type of housing i n the survey area include an average of one and one-half persons per room, sharing of bathroom f a c i l i t i e s , and cooking on wood and ooal, or gas stoves. Play space within one-quarter of a mile of the residence i s available to only one-quarter of the families. The !• Ibid. 2. In area bounded by Burrard street and Commercial Drive, and Broadway Street and Burrard Inlet. 3. Survey of Families with Children Living in Shared  Accommodation. Vancouver Housing Assocation, May 1954. 23 average unfurnished rent viar #27.00 and the average furnished rent i s $35.00. The great bulk of the accommodation covered by the sur-vey i s unsuitable for family-living by reason of inadequacies i n the buildings themselves, or because of environmental factors. A l l but a few of the families l i v i n g i n this accommodation would benefit from better f a c i l i t i e s i f available, and the majority could pay rents comparable with the current average rent for public hous-ing. Some rather interesting facts emerged from the survey. The major housing needs seem to be for more room and play space. There i s a high tenancy turnover, families frequently moving from one condemned residence to the next. Only 15 per cent of the families, because of children, rent, or work, are satisfied with their present quarters. Sixteen per cent of the families are near the subsistence income le v e l , and their ohances of getting even reasonable accommodation are very poor. Some veteran*s housing was built in 1946, but by 1947 the City of Vancouver had contracted for only 1,100 units. In 1948 Renfrew Heights with 595 units was opened as a designed neighborhood,1 and i n 1950 Fraserview was started and planned to have 1,146 units. This did not help the social assistance family. Many of the veterans had lived in the old Vancouver Hotel and were not absorbing housing which sooial assistance families might use. 1. "The Housing Situation i n Vancouver, report of Vancouver Housing Association, January, 1948, p. 4-5. 24 In April, 1950, the Provincial Government passed the Provincial Housing Act which authorized cooperation with the Dominion Government's 1949 amendments to the Housing Act to help the building of houses for sale or rent, with or without subsidy, and the acquisition of land for housing purposes. The passage of the Provincial Housing Act resulted in plans being made in 1950 for the Little Mountain housing project. Originally rents were scheduled to average $35.00 per month, but due to the length of time required to complete the projeot and the greater costs of building, i t was necessary that the complete scale of rents be increased. Little Mountain contains 224 units for families with incomes ranging between $135.00 and $310.00 per month. Rents, based on family composition and income, range from approximately $32.00 to $77.00, the average being $48.00 per month. The f i r s t tenants were admitted in April, 1954. To date the project has not knowingly admitted families dependent on sooial assistance for support. At present l i t t l e moderate-rental family accommodation is being built. With the exception of special projects for veterans, the Little Mountain projeot, and some small scale hous-ing for elderly people, virtually no housing of this sort has been constructed since the war. There has been a strong upsurge of apartment house building in Vancouver during the last two years. Nearly half the dwellings started in the city last year were apartments, but practically none of these are designed for families with children, and rents are seldom under $100.00 a month. Method of Study In November, 1954, the Vancouver City Social Service 25 Department had l i s t e d on i t s f i l e s f o r assistance or service 15,910 persons or f a m i l i e s . Of these, 3,413 i n d i v i d u a l s or families were receiving assistance under the provisions of the S o c i a l Assistance Act. This includes 347 f a m i l i e s of three or more members. These f a m i l i e s may have varied considerably i n age and many are composed of one adult and several c h i l d r e n , while a minority have two adults and one or more children. This study i s a survey of a portion of the 347 f a m i l i e s . This i s also an essay on a method which can be used to conduct a f a i r l y e f f i c i e n t , but not complex, housing survey. I t i s not a f i n a l answer to the problem of assessing housing, but does pave the way for future studies and gives some i n d i c a t i o n of the material a v a i l a b l e and some of the problems to be encountered. The survey i s l i m i t e d to s o c i a l assistance families be-cause the s o c i a l assistance program i s d i s t i n c t i v e . I t i s the only program over which the c i t y has some co n t r o l , and i t provides the lowest standard of assistance. I t i s the program providing assistance to those i n need of support and unable to work. The survey does not include any f a m i l i e s of the unemployed employables. This group reoeived help during the winter of 1954-1955, but not u n t i l a f t e r t h i s survey was formulated. The C i t y Sooial 'Service Department has divided the c i t y i n t o four units and administers each area from a d i s t r i c t o f f i c e (See map f o r d i s t r i c t boundaries, Appendix A). The d i s t r i c t s vary i n s i z e as to the number of families and also as to the number of s o c i a l assistance r e c i p i e n t s . Each has i t s own p e c u l i a r i t i e s , such as the prevalence of a certain type of housing. 26 As a preliminary to examination of case records, a study was made of Vancouver Housing Association reports and surveys and of the City Sooial Service Department annual reports. Both-of these presented an overall picture of the housing situation in Vancouver, especially for social assistance recipients. It was necessary to make a preliminary survey of forty families i n the Central and West units to determine the kinds of information available from records, the types of housing av a i l -able, and some of the problems which might be expected i n com-pleting the study. The.preliminary assessment revealed that a l l information necessary to do a comprehensive and informative sur-vey was not in the records. The f i l e s i n almost a l l instances were up to date and v i s i t s to the families had been regular, but they did not give a l l the housing details. In view of the lack of detailed information, additional means were needed to f i l l i n the blank spots and to obtain an informative statement about each family. The i n i t i a l survey showed that many of the two-member families are married couples approaching e l i g i b i l i t y for Old Age Assistance and have a home of their own. The remaining two-member families consist mostly of a parent and a child. These families do not appear to have as much d i f f i c u l t y i n obtaining shelter which meets their needs as some of the larger families have. Rent8 also seem in oloser agreement with the rental allow-ance than for some of the larger families. Because of the informa-tion gained through the i n i t i a l survey, t h e two-member families were excluded from the f i n a l study in an effort to make the study more representative of the housing problems of social assistance 37 families. In order to make the f i n a l sample as representative as possible, i t was decided to examine one out of every five cases of each family size (Appendix B). The separate d i s t r i c t s were tabu-lated as to the number of families of each size and then within the d i s t r i c t a sample was taken of one out of every five families in each size, providing a total of seventy in a l l * The exact number of families who are obtaining their shelter by other means than renting i s not known. I:t would have been heoessary to examine each f i l e to determine this. In secur-ing records for study, only twenty-five families were found who owned their own homes. They are mentioned here to indioate that some social assistance families own their residences* They may have better shelter than some of the families who are renting, but they may be l i t t l e better off because of mortgage payments, taxes, and the cost of upkeep. This, however, should be the subject of another study. With the cooperation of the City Social Servioe Depart-ment, plans were made to read the f i l e s of the families to be surveyed, and then to interview the worker assigned to each family. A schedule was devised whioh enabled the worker to give informa-tion quiokly and yet to present a comprehensive picture of the housing situation and of the family. The schedule (Appendix C) i s classified into three sec-tions for the sake of ease of completion, and these do not neces-sa r i l y correspond to the areas of the survey. The f i r s t portion 0 of the schedule includes identifying and s t a t i s t i c a l information 28 which i s available from the record. The second portion includes factual material concerning various aspects of housing conditions and neighborhood. Among items covered are inclusion of u t i l i t i e s with rent, number of rooms, furnishings, condition of interior and exterior of the building, and type and quality of the housing. The third area i s more subjective and qualitative, being based on the opinion of the worker. This portion includes an estimation of the adequacy of the shelter from various viewpoints, the a b i l i t y of the family to manage on a limited income, and f i n a l l y something of the personality of the family as an entity. The preliminary survey also revealed three distinct areas for study and description. These included the cost of shel-ter in comparison to the rental allowance, which would aotually be the budget aspect of housing, housing conditions among social assistance families, and a brief description of the families on social assistance. These three areas are focused clearly i n the schedule, and the tables are designed and sorted i n such a way as both to separate them for examination and to interrelate them where appropriate. As the study progressed, i t became more evident there would be two main divisions between families; those who are able to find shelter and are l i v i n g within their rental allowance, and those who find i t necessary to pay more than the shelter allowance for their housing. Unless otherwise specified, the tables are derived from 29 material accumulated through the schedule and i n turn obtained from sooial assistance records and workers. Where a table may-indicate fifteen families l i v i n g i n a certain type of shelter, i t really means there are approximately seventy-five families similarly housed.1 Chapter 2 contains a description of the housing condi-tions for families on social assistance and the adequacy of v a r i -ous kinds of shelter in relation to cost. Chapter 3 examines the cost of housing i n relation to the rental grant and to the proportionate amount of income that families can safely spend for shelter. It also discusses quality of housing in relation to the rental grant, and the influence of the personality of the family on i t s a b i l i t y to adapt i t s e l f to social assistance and to manage on a limited income. Chapter 4 summarizes a l l the implications of the study, looking at the housing d i f f i c u l t i e s for social assistance families i n relation to social work, the social assistance grant, and to the possibility of public housing as a solution to the problem of poor housing occupied by low-income families. 1. Per oent i n the text i s usually written to the nearest whole percentile. CHAPTER 2 HOUSING CONDITIONS Housing conditions are as important to a family as the amount of rent they pay. Much of the financial burden might be bearable i f housing were healthful, satisfying, and convenient. With high morale the family can endure hardships which would other-wise seem insurmountable, but i f the rent i s high and housing also unsatisfactory, then the family i s doubly unhappy and often immo-bilized-for/ further action. In essence, housing conditions can influence greatly the thinking and actions of a family. Almost 75 per cent (Table 3) of the families sampled are composed of one adult and several children. These families have a d i f f i c u l t time managing financially as the entire responsibility f a l l s on one person. \ N Table 3. Composition and Number of Families Included i n the Survey Type of Family Number Mother and two children Mother and three or more children Father and three or more children Two parents with one or more children 32 21 1 16 , Total number of families i n sample j 70 The families on social assistance cannot be classed usually as "normal" families. Even those which have two adult mem-bers often have the wage earner incapacitated and the mother re-maining home to care for the children. When one person i s 31 responsible for four to five children, the burden can easily be-come excessive. Often the age of the children varies consider-ably and the youngest may be only a toddler while the oldest i s in his teens. While examining housing conditions, i t i s impera-tive to remember that minor problems can become major ones in a deprived atmosphere. Types of Shelter Families dependent on social assistance usually occupy four basic kinds of shelter. There are various modifications of each of these, and perhaps among a l l social assistance families other kinds might appear. The four main types are: 1. Single-family houses 23 per cent 2. Duplexes ........11 per cent 3. Suite or rooms. 44 per cent 4. Single-family houses owned or , occupied by relatives 19 per cent. Each of these types has advantages and disadvantages, although some advantages such as av a i l a b i l i t y , cost, size, and privacy, may mean more than others because of the size and charac-ter of the family. The f i f t h type of shelter, lodging, i s used by only 3 per cent of the families sampled and does not seem to be a satisfactory means, or a commonly available method, of meet-ing the housing problem. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to find a home that w i l l board three or more people as a family unit. Several families l i v i n g with relatives do not pay rent, and on this account receive only support allowance from the City Social Service Department, 1. In this type of shelter the social assistance family has made arrangements to l i v e in a house which i s either owned and occupied by a friend or relative, or i s rented to the social assistance family by a friend or relative. 32 i . e . , no money for shelter i s included in their grant. The decision of where a family finds i t s shelter depends on the money i t can spend for rent, i t s resourcefulness, family size, the kind of shelter i t needs, and the type of shelter available at the time. The single-family house i s usually considered the most desirable, although i t actually depends on the house and i t s loca-tion. It i s also the most costly and consequently less accessible to some of the families. This type of shelter i s l i k e l y to be better qualified to f i l l the needs of a family than are most other kinds, but this i s the shelter which i s also i n demand by families with a higher income than those on social assistance. The supply of houses i s limited, and the greater purchasing power of higher-income families makes houses less available for social assistance families. The families l i v i n g with relatives have a distinct eco-nomic advantage. They usually have satisfactory shelter without the excessive expense associated with other types of housing. The family l i v i n g with friends i s not forced to face problems alone. The mother i s often able to get help, at least in caring for child-ren. It might be possible for a parent to work part-time i f some-body could "baby-sit" for her. Other advantages often include "doubling-up" on food expenses and other household expenses which reduces the cost for both families. A disadvantage may be tensions whioh might be created by two families l i v i n g together. Even i f the family i s l i v i n g alone i n a relative 1s home, the money they are l i k e l y to save, because of lower housing costs, w i l l enable them to meet with greater ease other expenses. This type of 33 housing often has the advantages of the single-family house with-out the high expenditure. Apartments and suites vary considerably i n quality. Some are in the tenement class; others are quite satisfactory. Apartments are usually cheaper and more numerous than houses, but do not provide the space, privacy, and convenience of the l a t t e r . 1 Duplexes provide an ideal means of meeting the housing problem i f the family has i t s own furnishings. Duplexes give the space and privacy of the single-family house, but at a lower cost. The real d i f f i c u l t y i s the lack of such accommodation for rent. Duplexes are of two types. Some are constructed for the purpose of renting to two families, each family having their own private entrance. Other buildings are converted to two-family use, and while each family has their private quarters, they may share a common entrance-way. Prevailing Rents The typical rent which social assistance families pay varies according to the type of.shelter. Rents also have a wide range within a specific classification of shelter (Figure l ) . The median rent for a l l sampled families, and paid by 21 per cent of them, i s $37.00 per month. The figure does not indicate i f u t i l i t i e s are included or whether or not the residence i s • • • • • • * • * * • • • • • • • • • • • • • • ' • « . « • • « • • 1. Descriptions and ratings in this study of various types of shelter apply to housing which i s usually occupied by social assistance recipients. Among the more expensive types of housing the statements are not necessarily true. Newer apart-ments may be as expensive as single-family houses and as satis-factory. 34 furnished. Cost of shelter i s largely determined by the heavy demand for cheap accommodation and by the desire of the landlord to get as much rent from the tenant as possible. Single-fam: l y houses Dupl< ixes Suit6 8 and apartments Single-family housj is with relatives Lodgii ig 10 2P_ 2.0 . IP m p . o t — : — p ? •Median of a l l rents paid by total families sampled. Based on Table 1 Appendix D. Figure 1. Families Paying More or Less than Overall  Median Rent According to Type of  Accommodation The single-family house commands the highest rent, judg-ing by the median of $44.00. Actually, though, rent for this type of shelter ranges from a low of $20.00 to a high of $70.00. The single-family house i s "desirable 1 1, especially for a large family, but i t s very desirability prices i t out of the reach of the sooial assistance recipient. The families who need this housing are the least able to afford i t . For example, the mother with three child-ren, especially i f one or two of them are under four years would benefit tremendously by the space and convenience of a private 35 home. The children would he happier and have a more normal development. Unfortunately, this i s the family who i s unable to afford a house because of excessive monthly expenses. The typical median rent for families l i v i n g with re l a -tives i s considerably less than any other group, amounting to about $28.00 per month. It i s sometimes doubtful as to how much rent some of these families pay. They may indicate a certain amount to the social worker, and even produce a receipt for i t , but i f the relative or friend who owns the home i s trying to "help-out" the family, shelter may actually be provided at a lower cost than i s indicated to the social worker. Families l i v i n g in this type of shelter are of several sizes, but predominately three-member families. Living i n a residence under these arrangements i s usually an ideal method of meeting the financial aspect of the housing problem. Suites are generally priced about $6.00 less than single-family houses, the median rent being approximately $38.00. As i n single-family houses, the range of rents i s considerable. These units are often less expensive for the tenant to maintain than other types. They may have u t i l i t i e s included i n the rental pay-ment, and are sometimes furnished. Consequently, more social assistance families l i v e in suites than in any other type of shelter. The fact that the suite i s often cramped, inconvenient, and in need of repair, seems to have l i t t l e bearing on i t s usage. Not only are suites less expensive, but there are more of them. The ease with which suites are rented removes incentive for the landlord to improve or repair them. 36 A duplex provides a f a i r l y satisfactory solution to the . housing problem for the family of three or more members. The only d i f f i o u l t y i s the shortage of rental units. The median rent for these i s just under that of the suites, but the f i n a l cost may be higher due to u t i l i t i e s not being included i n the rent. Families who are boarding are paying the equivalent of $80.00 to $25.00 for shelter with the remaining amount of their grant going for board. One of the big questions for the family on sooial assist-ance i s whether or not the place they w i l l rent i s furnished and what u t i l i t i e s , i f any, are included in the rental payment. If a low-income family can move into a residence whioh i s already fur- . nished, i t i s much better than finding a place to l i v e and then s t i l l having to provide their own furniture on a limited income. If they have their own furniture, then this i s another story, and they would be better off to find an unfurnished unit. Only 27 per cent of the families have u t i l i t i e s provided in the rent, and many of these are in apartments and suites. In oontrast, 47 per cent do not have u t i l i t i e s included in any form. No t a l l y was kept of the kinds of u t i l i t i e s . I t was found, however, that usually cooking i s by wood and coal. Water i s heated by means of a jacket water heater on the stove, or from a central source. The quality of the u t i l i t i e s varies considerably from very old to f a i r l y modern. This was also true of their state of repair. It can pretty well be expected that certain types of residences w i l l not usually be furnished. This i s especially true of single-family houses and duplexes. It i s the exception to find 3 7 either of these furnished when rented. This i s not true of families l i v i n g with relatives as these units are quite often furnished. With the exclusion of relative's homes, suites are the only type of dwelling which might be either furnished or unfurnished. Sixty-one per cent of them are unfurnished, or furnished so poorly that the family would have to buy additional furniture i f they were to remain i n the apartment. The average rent for the unfurnished apartment i s greater than that for furnished units (Table 4). 1 One reason for this might be that the units which are furnished are usually those oonverted by a family in their own home as a source of extra income. The unfurnished units are those designed originally for rent and priced with the intention of returning a considerable investment to the owner. There i s a difference of almost $8.00 for the entire survey between furnished and unfur-nished units. Rent does not appear to be an indication that a residence w i l l be furnished. The only real clue rests with the type of dwelling. The question of the provision of u t i l i t i e s in the rent, cannot be ignored i n planning for housing. If a family on a l i m i t -ed income were to look for shelter, there i s a pattern which i t -should keep in mind concerning u t i l i t i e s . It i s neither definite nor complete, but affords some idea as to what to expect from various types of shelter r (Table 5). Single-family houses do not have u t i l i t i e s included i n the rent. This i s also true for \1. The unfurnished suites may be more adequate than the furnished units. No attempt was made to rate the quality of fur-nished and unfurnished apartments. 38 Table The Average Cost of Furnished and Unfurnished  Rental Units of Various Types and the  Frequency of Occurrence Type of unit Average Cost No. Sampled Single-family houses Furnished 2 Unfurnished ^2 .25 lh Duplexes 2*f.00 Furnished 2 Unfurnished 39.25 6 Suites 3^ .96 Furnished 12 Unfurnished 39.M-7 19 Single-family houses with relatives Furnished 26.63 9 Unfurnished 27.00 k Lodging 22.50 Furnished 2 Total Ho, of Rental Units Sampled Average rent of furnished unit Average rent of unfurnished unit $31.36 .. 39.19 27 4-3 Table 5 . Relationship Between Type of Shelter and  Provision of Utilities in the Rent Type of Shelter Per Cent Providing A l l Utilities in Rent. Single-family house Furnished 0 Unfurnished 0 Duplexes Furnished 0 Unfurnished 17 Suites 58 Furnished Unfurnished 21 Single-family houses with relatives • Furnished 66 Unfurnished 0 'Lodging Furnished 100 Based on Table 2 Appendix D 39 duplexes* Families l i v i n g with relatives make their own arrange-ments for u t i l i t i e s ; i f the family i s l i v i n g with somebody they may share the cost, but i f they are l i v i n g alone i n a relative's home, then i t i s their own responsibility. The only type of accommodation in which the status of u t i l i t i e s i s really variable i s the suites* Furnished suites are the most l i k e l y to have u t i l i t i e s included in the rent. These are often a converted portion of the single-family house and are not constructed to include separate u t i l i t y meters* Partial u t i l i t i e s are usually found in unfur-nished suites; the most common combination being light and water. Usually single-family houses do not include u t i l i t i e s ; this means that along with having the highest median rent, families in these quarters must also provide their own u t i l i t i e s and fur-nish their homes, For the family on social assistance, l i v i n g i n a house oan be so expensive as to seem like a luxury; even with the besy4bility to manage, the upkeep requirements are too great. Those who do l i v e i n separate houses either have to accept old or poorly built properties or must get by with bare furnishings and poor maintenance* No relationship i s obvious between, the provision of u t i l i t i e s and amount of rent (Table 6). The median rent Is the same for families having a l l u t i l i t i e s included, or none of them provided in the rent. The only place this i s not valid i s i n relation to suites. Apartments with no u t i l i t i e s provided by the landlord have a median rent of $35.00, while those with them -included have a median rent of $40.00. 40 Table 6. Relationship Between Provision of U t i l i t i e s  by the-Landlord and the Rental Fee Rent Number of U t i l i t i e s Included In the Rent None One Two Three A l l Under $20 2 1 20 - 24 — 2 2 _ 4 25 - 29 7 2 mm 1 3 3 0 - 3 4 3 1 1 _ 1 35 - 39 8 1 1 1 4 40 - 44 4 _ mm _ 3 45 - 49 3 4 1 3 Over $50 6 .- I Total 33 6 9 3 19 Effect of the Shelter on the Family: A Rating It i s impossible to disouss housing conditions without making some attempt to evaluate the adequacy of the accommodation available to a family. The social worker did this to a certain extent when he answered the question pertaining to the way the shelter affected the family's l i f e . There may have been a tend-ency, however, on the part of the occasional social worker, i n evaluating the effect of the housing, not to consider i t in the light of i t s effect on the family, but i n comparison with much worse housing which i s a common occurrence to him. It was equally d i f f i c u l t for the writer to read each schedule and evaluate the housing purely on an objective baBis from the worker's opinions and statements about the size and quality of the residence. To offset this, i t i s possible to make a tentative scale to rate each dwelling by a number of factors so i t can be c l a s s i -f i e d in relation to other dwellings. This rating broadly 41 distinguishes three groups: good housing, housing satisfactory for a short time ("provisional" housing), 1 and housing which i s not appropriate for the family under any circumstances. A rating of one, two, or three points was given for various adverse deficiencies i n the shelter. Two defects—crowded l i v i n g quarters, and crowded or inadequate sleeping f a c i l i t i e s — each received three points. These characteristics were evaluated on the basis of the number of persons in the household. Inadequate heating, cooking, lighting, or washing and t o i l e t f a c i l i t i e s each received two points. Each of the following deficiencies was given one point: an exterior or interior in need of repair, lack of play space in the yard or nearby, or a neighborhood detrimental to the family. To receive a satisfactory rating the shelter should not have more than three demerits, and should not include either of the three-point defects. In order to receive a provisional rat-ing a residence should not receive over six points and only one of the three-point defects should be included. The six points might include two-point defects, or one-point defects. Any r e s i -dence receiving over six points, or not having the qualifications for the f i r s t or second rating, was automatically placed in the third rating which was shelter unfit for use by the family under consideration. By means of this rating, and supplementary questions answered by the social worker who knew the family, i t i s possible 1. Shelter, which i f occupied over a long period of time, would have a detrimental effect on the family. 42 to evaluate the adequacy of the shelter, but particularly to relate i t to three differentials: the rent paid for the shelter, the type of shelter, and the size of the family. These specifics are a l l important and part of the "housing problem" for families on social assistance. They are a l l problems with which the family must cope and which cannot be eliminated as long as the family i s receiving financial help. Almost half of the families on social assistance are l i v i n g in inadequate shelter (Figure 2). These families, because of one or more defects in their shelter,are l i v i n g in a residence which i s not capable of meeting the family's requirements. Shelter was classed as inadequate only because i t possessed either an accumulation of defects, or at least one major deficiency that was considered serious enough to jeapordize the family's well-being. This not only affects the adults who are so housed, but also the children in each family. Whatever tensions and pressures the adults f e e l w i l l also be transmitted to the children. There may be other d i f f i c u l t i e s , such as very cramped quarters, that directly affect children. If a person looks closely enough they can see in poor housing conditions the base of future personality d i f f i c u l t i e s . The most common effect of inadequate housing seems to be the excessive work placed on the head of the family. This i s noted in 43 per cent of the dwellings. It i s not hard to imagine what this could mean to a mother with a very young child, forced to l i v e in a small apartment without adequate laundry, washing, or cooking f a c i l i t i e s . The chore of caring for children on social 43 Provisional Shelter Good Si elter PO 3ff 20 Poor SHelter |37 W Less TO More 3' Based on Table 3 Appendix D. Figure 3. Percentage of Families Living i n  Each of the Three Qualities of  Shelter (In relation to overall median rent) assistance i s d i f f i c u l t enough without the extra pressure of in-adequate space and f a c i l i t i e s . t a i l the ac t i v i t i e s of children. This would not be so d i f f i c u l t for the chi l d under a year of age, but as soon as the baby begins to explore,"confinement to quarters" can seriously tax the patierce of the mother and the child. Not only i s the child unhappy, but also the mother who must put up with him in a plaoe where the f a c i l i t i e s are inadequate, play space i s limited, and noise i s taboo. In the case of an older child, the lack of outdoor play space i s as important as the lack of floor space. The child i s handicapped in the home because of inadequate play room and i s l i k e l y to get into trouble outside unless there are play f a c i l i t i e s within a very short distance. A person can almost see "delinquency on the march" i n a neighborhood lacking a sufficient play area for the growing generation. Approximately two-fifths of the homes rest r i c t and cur-Slightly over one-third of the families are l i v i n g i n 44 quarters whioh create a poor home atmosphere. The residences may not he arranged suitably for f u l f i l l i n g normal family functions, thus and/curtail the privacy of individual family members. The homes may lower the morale of the residents; as i f the recipients of social assistance do not have enough to manage without having a house whioh i s dreary, bleak and dirty. Few families have the resources to redeoorate. The quality of the residence would be especially noticeable to adolescents who are conscious of the draw-backs of their own home. They are often ashamed to bring friends in to v i s i t because of fear of what the friends w i l l think. Nearly one i n every four homes i s definitely regarded as being conducive to poor health. This statement needs no rami-fication to express i t s significance for young children or a par-ent who i s incapacitated because of i l l health. Drafts, lack of sanitation and fresh a i r , dampness, and poor sleeping f a c i l i t i e s a l l invite disease and infection. Nineteen per cent of the families are l i v i n g i n shelter which i s provisional. The real d i f f i c u l t y with housing of this type i s that the short time never ceases. The family w i l l con-tinue to remain in their present quarters, and w i l l probably con-sider themselves quite fortunate to have the housing they do. Some of the characteristics described previously apply to this housing as well as to that which i s inadequate. One-third of the families sampled are fortunate enough to li v e in shelter classed as satisfactory for their needs. This may not be housing which i s perfect in every respect, but i t has no.major defects which would be detrimental to the family. 45 The question of the significance of paying more rent i n the quest for suitable shelter i s d i f f i c u l t to answer. The med-ian rent for families with good housing i s $41.00 as compared to a median of $36.00 for families l i v i n g under inadequate conditions. Shelter which i s categorized as provisional has a typical rent of $29.00 per month. On this basis i t i s d i f f i c u l t to say to what degree rent influences the quality of the Bhelter. The higher the rent, the more chances of finding adequate shelter, but cost alone i s not the only determinate of adequate shelter. This i s indicated by the low median rent for temporarily satisfactory housing. The correlation between type of shelter and i t s adequacy appears to be more pronounced than correlation between adequacy and rent (Figure 3). The type of shelter, judging from the figure, i s a f a i r indication of the adequacy of the housing. Single-family houses are placed predominately i n the f i r s t two ratings. F i f t y -six per cent of the single-family houses f a l l into the f i r s t class-i f i c a t i o n and 25 per cent in the second. Single-family houses wi-fa relatives are grouped somewhat in the same manner. The duplex i s divided f i f t y - f i f t y between good and poor shelter, and the families who are boarding have* temporarily satisfactory housing. The difference between houses and suites i s striking. Only 10 per cent of the suites qualify for the f i r s t rating, and only 13 per cent for the second. Although suites may cost less than houses, and may be furnished or have u t i l i t i e s included i n the rent, they are quite unsatisfactory in meeting the needs of their inhabitants. In spite of this, they are s t i l l the most com-mon housing because of their a v a i l a b i l i t y and lower cost. The 46 family has l i t t l e choice i n choosing their residence, and often this choice i s only between apartments, determining which i s the "lesser of two evils." "0 ~2d 45 6^> 80" 100 PO Based on Table 4 Appendix D Figure 3. Adequacy Rating for Five  Types of Shelter Types of Deficiencies As the schedule was completed by the social worker, he noted deficiencies i n shelter. By tallying these i t was possible to determine which characteristics of poor housing occurred most frequently. It was also possible to ascertain which of the deficiencies occur in shelter costing more or less than the $37.00 47 median. Some deficiencies occur oftener than others, and some are more important to the family than others, i . e . , the most com-mon deficiency i s crowded l i v i n g quarters, while the second, the building exterior in need of repair, i s less serious (Figure 4). Three deficiencies particularly noted among residences renting for less than $37.00 are1, shared bath, inadequate heating f a c i l i -t i e s , inadequate washing f a c i l i t i e s . The deficiency noted most often among residences costing more than the $37.00 median, i s shelter placed above or below the main floor. The remainder of the deficiencies vary only slightly from occurring equally on both sides of the median. As an indication of how defective social assistance i shelter can be, two of the three most common defects are the same as the ones which are considered the most serious to the family in the adequacy of shelter rating. A family dependent on assist-ance has only about a - f i f t y - f i f t y chance of finding shelter which w i l l not jeapordize i t s physical and emotional well-being. As an indication of the environment in which families are l i v i n g , two of the f i r s t four defects are a neighborhood which i s detrimental to children and the exterior of the residence being in need of repair. Families do not have the opportunity to find adequate shelter. They are often restricted, by their budget and the lack of available housing, to a specific kind of low-quality shel-ter located usually in a neighborhood which i s not favorable for raising a family. With the exception of the previously mentioned instances, there i s l i t t l e difference in the mean number of defects between shelter costing more or less than the typical rent of $37.00. 4 8 PO Lees Crowded l i v i x g quarters .^ Poox; sleepin 5 f a c i l i t i e s Shared bat: 1 Inadequate cook.ng f a c i l i t i e s Inadequate heating f a c i l i t i e s Inadequate lighting Inadequate water heating Inadequate washing f a c i l i t i e s [ Interior noeds repair Residence not on main floor Exterior in n< led of repair play space Inadequate 39 8 9 Df^imental^eighborhgod Based on Tables 5-6 Appendix D J 2 . Figure 4 . The Frequency of Occurrence of DefeotB in Ralation to Median Rent PO More 30 49 Shelter renting below the median has a mean of 4.5 defects per unit as compared to 4.3 defects per unit for housing renting over $37.00 per month. Shelter which rents for $50.00 per month i s somewhat more satisfactory, having a mean of only three defects per unit. In the lower rental brackets shelter costing between $25.00 and $30.00 has the least number of defects with a mean of 3.2 per unit. Nine out of seventy families are l i v i n g i n homes without any deficiencies. Of this number three are in L i t t l e Mountain or Fraserview; four with relatives; one i s livi n g i n a duplex pur-chased, partly furnished, and rented at a reduced cost by the Kiwanis Club, and one has independently found housing with no defects. The actual number of defects per home ranges from none to eleven. High rent does not positively assure the family of hav-ing shelter which i s satisfactory; i . e . , median rent for no defects i s $28.00, for one and two defects $45.00, and for six and seven defect8 only $30.00. Above a certain point, $50.00, rent does seem to make a difference i n the quality of the shelter, but i t i s not the sole determinate. Housing Differentials Caused by Family Size and Income It i s impossible to separate family size and family i n -come when comparing family size to the adequacy of the shelter. Because the income i s apportioned directly to the number of people in the family, these two elements directly influence the family's choioe of shelter. On one hand, i t might be surmised that the 50 smaller family would have less d i f f i c u l t y i n obtaining adequate housing. This family, though, i s seriously limited by i t s finan-c i a l resources and i s unable to make the cash outlay required for some of the better grades of shelter. The larger families have more money. Although they have proportionately greater family expenses, they may have more to spend for shelter than the smaller families. They also have a need for better housing because of more family members, so the increased shelter allowance may remain insufficient to provide the larger family with adequate shelter. In view of the limitations large and small social assistance fam-i l i e s have in finding shelter which i s satisfactory, i t may be the medium-sized family that i s best able to find appropriate housing. Four-member families have by far the best housing of any family sizes. (Figure 5). They are exceptionally well housed i n relation to other families, and also in relation to the median percentage of families who are rated as having good housing. One-third of the three larger families have adequate housing. These families are paying a lower median rent than either the four- or five-member families (Figure 6). The median rent does not rise proportionately to the grant which the various families receive, but tapers down after reaching a high of $44.00. The four- and five-member families pay the high medians;' and then as family size increases the median drops slightly. The three-member families pay the lowest median rent, and they also have the lowest income. In view of their low average rent they are doing quite well at finding adequate housing. It appears that smaller family groups have less d i f f i c u l t y in finding less-expensive shelter than some of the larger families. 51 Three-member families Four-member families p * ^ Good Provisional Poor Five-member families Six-, seven-, and eight-member families 180*0 Figure 5. Relationship Between Adequacy of Shelter and Family Size (Based on Table 7 Appendix D) 0 40 —i— 80 120 \ - 160 — 4 Three-member families Four-member families Five-member families Six-member families Seven-member families Eight-member family Bar indicates social assistance grant. Shaded portion indicates median rent. Figure 6. Relationship Between Family Size and  Income and the Median Rent Paid (Based on Table 8 Appendix DJ 52 The five-member families have the greatest d i f f i c u l t y procuring adequate shelter. One-fifth of this group are paying rent over $55.00 per month. . Summary One of the main questions concerning families on social .assistance refers to the type of housing they have and whether or not i t i s adequate for them. This portion of the study has exam-ined housing conditions for social assistance families from several viewpoints: type of shelter and i t s costs; rent in r e l a -tion to type of shelter, furnishings, and u t i l i t i e s ; relationship of shelter adequacy to rent, and type of shelter; frequency of various home defects in relation to rent; and adequacy of shelter in relation to family size. The following are some of the conclusions which can be reached concerning housing conditions: 1. The.most prevalent type of shelter for the social assist-ance family i s the suite, occupied by 44 per cent of the families sampled. A single-family house i s obtained by 23 per cent, but another 19 per cent obtain this type of shelter by l i v i n g with relatives. 2. The most expensive type of shelter i s the single-family house, with a median rent of $44.00. This i s relatively high for social assistance families, but s t i l l low i n comparison with prevailing rents i n this city generally. The cheapest recourse i s to share a house, median rent $28.00. 3. The number of defects per rental unit varies from none to eleven with the mean at 4.4 per residence. Rent does not seem to have a significant bearing on the quality of the shelter until rent exceeds $50.00. The most serious defects are also among the most common deficiencies, i.e., crowded l i v i n g condi-tions, inadequate sleeping f a c i l i t i e s , and shared bath. 4. The type of dwelling predominately determines whether or not u t i l i t i e s and furnishings w i l l be included in the rent. The only type of shelter which i s l i k e l y to either include or exclude these items in the rent i s the suite. 53 One-third of the families sampled are l i v i n g in adequate shelter, hut nearly one-half of the sampled families are poorly housed. Adequate housing appears to be more influenced by type of shelter than by the cost. Single-family houses are the most adequate, while suites are the least satisfactory, but the difference between new and old houses and new and "converted" suites must always be kept i n mind. Family size and the amount of the social assistance grant are closely related and i t i s impossible to separate them when.comparing family size with the adequacy of the shelter. Four-member families are proportionately the best housed of a l l family sizes, the largest families have the poorest shelter. CHAPTER 3 THE COST OF HOUSING AND ITS EFFECT ON FAMILIES AND THEIR BUDGETS There are two extremes of opinions concerning the shelter portion of the social assistance grant. One i s that i t i s adequate, and recipients should be able to fin d suitable l i v -ing quarters with the money allotted for this purpose. The other i s that the shelter allowance i s completely out of line with cur-rent housing costs and these costs prohibit recipients from find- . ing shelter at rents low enough to leave sufficient money for the necessary monthly expenses. Both propositions are not as easy to test as might at f i r s t appear because (a) there are actually many kinds and levels of housing, some satisfactory, some almost unin-habitable; (b) rents have changed very greatly within postwar years, whether of old properties (particularly since removal of rent controls) or of new buildings; (c) some adjustments to allow-ances have been made, both in general and in particular cases. Social assistance shelter allowances can be visualized in two ways. The f i r s t i s i n relation to the feasible proportions of the grant which can be used for shelter; the second i s in com-parison with prevailing costs of shelter for low-income families in Vancouver. For families on low 1 or moderate incomes, the accepted 1. For this study low-income families may be considered as those families who do not have a sufficient income to purchase a minimal standard of l i v i n g , as described in the Toronto 'jGuide 55 proportion of the total income which should be used for shelter has been 20 per cent. This belief was supported by evidence from a study of family budgets made i n 1937 and 1938, which showed that wage earners were spending about 19 per cent of their income for it shelter. A later rental scale i n Toronto revealed that the "normal rents... for family housing units...£werej theoretically so far beyond the reach of the average middle-income family...that a low-income family |was]J theoretically quite incapable of meeting 2 the rent, even oh a house with incomplete modern conveniences." o It would seem that either the 20 per cent principle needed reexam-ination or the housing situation, even at that time, as Br. Carver reports, was "much worse than commonly supposed." Families with incomes under $1,000 were using 40 per cent of their income for shelter; families with incomes between $1,000 and $1,500 used 25 per cent of their inoome for shelter; and families with incomes of between $1,500 and $2,000, 21 per cent of their income for shelter. For a l l families who are rent-ing, 20 per cent may be the s t a t i s t i c a l proportion of the income which i s used for shelter. To produce the 20 per cent figure, however, low-income families who are paying a high proportion for shelter are counterbalanced by high-income families paying a much lower proportion of their income for housing. to Family Spending' r and s t i l l have enough income l e f t for ade-quate housing. The description w i l l include many families above the economic level of social assistance. 1. Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Family Inoome and  Expenditure i n Canada 1937-1938 (Ottawa) 1941. 2. Humphrey Carver, A.R.I.B.A., Houses for Canadians. University of Toronto Press, 1948, p. 74. The larger-income families have considerable f l e x i b i l i t y in the income proportions they use for shelter. This i s not true of low-income families. Some have such an inadequate income they cannot afford to pay even 20 per cent for shelter. If they did, i t would mean they would not have enough money l e f t to meet other necessities. Only families with income above a specified amount, which i s based on necessary expenditures for essentials, "can afford to pay one-fifth of income for rent and also maintain a desirable standard of l i v i n g . It may well be argued that the true rent capacity of families [who have less than a specified i n -come i s j not one-fifth of [their] income, but only what remains after costs of maintaining the desirable standard of l i v i n g have been met."1 Not only do larger families need more adequate housing than smaller families, but they must also spend a smaller propor-tion of their income for i t . Family size causes a variation i n the amount of income available for shelter. In some low-rental housing projects in the United States, the proportion of the i n -come which should be used for shelter was set at 18 per cent. This i s not basing the cost of shelter entirely on family income, but i s at least recognition of the precarious position of families with low incomes. In order to determine the specific amount required for a minimal standard of l i v i n g in each family, i t i s necessary to have some sort of standard. A Guide to Family Spending, which was com-piled by the Welfare Council of Greater Toronto for several years, 5?. -and was last revised in 1952, offers a key to the cost and require-ments of a minimal standard of l i v i n g for families of various sizes and compositions. It recommends that a family consisting of a wo-man between the ages of twenty and twenty-nine, a two-to four-year-old boy, and a nine-to ten—year-old g i r l , needs a total of $86.43 per month, not including rent, u t i l i t i e s , or household necessities. The Vancouver social assistance grant i s $83.50 for any family of three, and must include shelter costs. This means that for most social assistance families the use of 20 per cent of their income for shelter leaves a bare minimum for other expenses. The belief that a family should be able to pay 20 to 25 per cent 1 of i t s income for shelter i s equivalent to admitting that the social assistance grant i s inadequate: (a) families are generally unable to find shelter which costs less than 25 per cent of their grant, and many families are using closer to 37 per cent of their income for housing; (b) even i f a family could find shel-ter at a cost of 25 per cent, many of them would not have s u f f i c i -ent income remaining to supply a minimal standard of l i v i n g as depicted by the Toronto Welfare C o u n c i l ^ A Guide to Family Spend- ing. If a family i s expected to find shelter for 25 per cent of i t s income i t i s also an acknowledgement of the disproportion-ate rise of rents since the end of the war. Some overall and 1. In this study family allowances have not been con-sidered part of family income. For* this reason, 20 per cent, the usually accepted proportion of income which could be used for shel-ter has been increased to include 25 per cent. There i s no indica-tion family allowances and 5 per cent of income are equal. The placement of the usually acceptable proportion of income that can be used for shelter at 25 per cent i s acknowledgement of family allowances as an important source of income for many families. 50 individual increases have been made in the social assistance grant, and the City Social Service Department has made further recommendations for other increases. The original grant was small-It has not been possible to increase i t enough to bring i t in l i n e with today's cost of l i v i n g . A parallel study to the present one indicates that soc-i a l assistance families are paying rents which are lower than those paid by low-income families seeking admittance, to L i t t l e Mountain housing project. 1 (Table 7). Applicants for the project believe they are inadequately housed and are paying too high a proportion of their income for shelter. Median rents for this group range from $47.50 for two parents and one.child to $50.50 for two parents and three children. Low-income families, con-sisting of two parents and three children, are paying 17.6 per cent of their income for shelter while low-income families of one parent and three children are paying 28 per cent of their income for shelter. Social assistance families in the same categories are paying 57.5 per cent and 46.2 per cent of their incomes for housing. If the family does not have sufficient resources for a minimum standard of l i v i n g , i t i s not adequately equipped.to con-tribute i t s maximum to the community. Physical and psychological 2 pressures may give rise to i l l health and delinquency. When a 1. Michael Wheeler, Evaluating the Need for Low-rental  Housing (Provisional t i t l e ) Master of Social Work thesis, Univer-sity of Br i t i s h Columbia, 1955. 2. See reference to Family Service Association of America survey, Page 9. ' . -(59 family lacks resources to meet their daily expenses, that family becomes a matter of public concern and i s in need of help. Table 7. Comparison of Income and Rent Between Low- Income Families and Social Assistance Families Family Composition Low-Income Family Social Assistance Family Median . P.C. Income Rent Income Median P.C. of Income Rent Income 2 Parents 1 Child 2 Parents 2 Children 2 Parents 3 Children $203.50 $47.50 23.3 255.50 49.00 19.1 287,50 50.50 17.6 $83.50 $48.00 57.5 97.50 37.50 38.7 111.50 38.00 34.1 1 Parent 2' Children 1 Parent 3 Children 182.00 49.00 26.9 175.00 49.00 28.0 83.50 27.75 33.5 97.50 45.00 46.2 T Source: Social Assistance records,and Michael Wheeler, Evaluating  the Need for Low-rental Housing. (Provisional title} Master of Social Work thesis, University of British Columbia, 1955, To show the relationship of the concept of "maintaining sufficient resources for necessities" to the social assistance grant, i t i s essential to f i r s t examine the proportions that social assistance families are actually spending for shelter. There should also be an appraisal of the quality of shelter available in relation to the rental grant. The special patterns of families in this study have already been indicated i n Chapter 2. Even for families of the same size, the variation i n the amount of the.grant used for shelter i s extreme; in spite of this 60 wide range, only 4 per cent of the families sampled are able to find shelter which costs no more than one-fifth of their monthly income (Table 8). These are four- and five- member families. Only 16 per cent of the families are able to obtain housing without spending more than 25 per cent of their income. Most of these are three-member families. This means that 84 per cent of the fam-i l i e s on social assistance are forced to pay more than one-quarter of their income for shelter; this they can i l l afford to do. Many of the comparisons in this study are based on the difference between the shelter portion of the social assistance grant, and the rent the family i s actually paying. The shelter portion of the grant, as allotted by the City Social Service Depart-ment, ranges from 30 per cent for three-member families to 33 per cent for eight-member families. When the comparison i s made that a certain number, of families' pay a specified amount in relation to the rental allowance, i t should be kept in. mind that the rental allowance i s no guide to an appropriate proportion of the income which should be spent for shelter. There are many variations i n the relationship between rent and the rental allowance (Table 1 Appendix E). The actual proportion of the income being spent for shelter i n each family size i s significant. For the entire study the median percentage of the income used for shelter i s 37. Disregarding the eight-member family, 1 the other two largest household sizes seem better 1. The median percentage of the income spent for shel-ter for the eight-member family i s not a valid figure. Although i t i s sampled i n the same proportion as the other families, the sample i s too small to give a true representation of the rents the eight-member families pay. 61 Table 8. i Comparison of Social Assistance. Actual  Rents and "Appropriate" Proportion a. Social Assistance and Actual Rents Nov in Family Social Assistance Grant .• '= ! '. sneiter P.C. Total. Shelter Median Actual Rent P.C. In-come for Shelter Families* Paying Less • More 1 $ 1*5. ,00 $15.00 ,2 69:50 20.'00 3 8 3 . 5 0 25.00 5- 97.50 3 0 . 0 0 5 111.50 35.00 6 125.50 *f0.00 7 139.50 - k5.00 8 153.50 50.00 33 29 30 31 31 32 32 33 $29.50 1*0.00 Mf.oo 3 8 . 0 0 3 5 . 2 5 (75.00) 35 hi 39 30 P 13 22 3 17 : 3 6 2 1 , 2 _ .. — 1-23 ^7 Total ( 3 1 . M ($37.00) (37) b. 25% and 20$ Proportions No. i n income 25# Families-Pavine 20% Families Pa-vine Family (a) Rent Less More 1 Rent Less More I 5 6 7 8 $83.50 97.50 111.50 125.50 L39.50 L53.50 120.87 2^.37 27.87 31.37 3^.87 3 8 A 7 7 28 1 ' 19 2 7 1 2,' 2. 1 $16.70 19.50 22.30 25.10 27 .90 30.70 35 1 19 2 7 3 2 i Total -. - 11 59 ; - • 3 67 (a) Less family allowances: See text, Footnote 1, Page lh. One-person and two-person families not included i n this study. 62 able to find Bhelter at a lower proportion of their income. This i s especially true for the seven-member families who use only 25 per cent of their grant for housing. These families are forced, because of extra family expenses, to find shelter at a lower pro-portionate cost than the smaller families and thus appear to have some of the poorest housing. The smaller four- and five-member families seem to have.to pay the highest proportion of their i n -come for shelter. The median rents for the low-income families applying to L i t t l e Mountain project are much lower in proportion to income than social assistance families are forced to pay. The closest comparison i s between families with one parent and two children. For the low-income families this i s 26.9 per cent; for the social assistance family, 33.5 per cent. Of the families l i v i n g within the rental allowance, 39 per cent are staying with relatives or friends. This accounts part i a l l y for their a b i l i t y to find shelter at a limited cost. Only 9 per cent of the families paying excess rent are able to use this means. There are several things that should be remembered i n a discussion of total income of social assistance families. Family*: allowance i s not deducted from th'e grant. A family with six or seven children, a l l eligible for family allowance, would have a considerable additional income with which to supplement a social assistance grant. It i s not the intention of family allowances,, however, to bolster a r e l i e f grant to such a degree that family allowances make the difference between having, or not having, 63 sufficient income to properly raise a family. A second item i s the amount of income the family may earn. They are allowed, without deductions from the grant, a maximum.of $5.00 per month for each adult and $2.50 for each child. This applies only to earned income and not to money from any other source. A l l other income, except family allowances, i s deducted from the grant. Supposedly a l l earned income i s reported by the family to the social worker, but inadvertently this i s not always adhered to. I t i s sometimes d i f f i c u l t , from the records, to t e l l i f the family i s getting any supplementary income. A f i n a l point to consider i s that some families obtain income from other outside sources and do not report i t to the agency. There was some indication by workers that various r e c i p i -ents are known to be getting additional help and not always by socially acceptable methods. To obtain verification of proof i s impossible, so the grant i s based on the known facts as discussed between worker and client. To answer the question at the beginning of the chapter: The social assistance shelter grant i s not adequate. If the r e c i -pient i s able to find shelter within the shelter allowance, hous-ing i s very l i k e l y to be inadequate for the family. Even i f the family finds adequate shelter at the cost of the shelter grant i t i s l i k e l y that sufficient income does not remain to meet the essential minimal needs of the family. Quality of Shelter In order to discuss the relation of the adequacy of shelter to the income spent for housing, i t i s necessary to 64 examine the quality of housing costing more or less than the rental allowance. Although the excessive shelter cost i s a real burden, i t might not seem so f u t i l e i f the family i s able to have adequate housing. It i s important to both the social worker i n helping the family, and the family i t s e l f in i t s planning, to know i f "excess" 1 rent i s any guarantee of adequate housing. If rent in excess of the shelter allowance assures a family of satis-factory l i v i n g quarters, they might consider the investment worth-while in spite of the resulting deprivations* Housing whieh rents for less than the rental allowance has almost the same mean proportionate number of defects per unit as has housing costing more (Figure 7). The importance of the defects varies, however. Housing costing less than the allowance has a much greater proportion of the more detrimental character-i s t i c s such as crowded l i v i n g quarters, crowded sleeping quarters, shared bath, and inadequate heating and washing f a c i l i t i e s . Some of the deficiencies common to housing costing more than the shelter grant are the exterior of the building in need of repair, and a neighborhood which is detrimental to children. The better neigh-borhood,characteristic of families paying less rent, may be due to many of these families l i v i n g with relatives. Families paying less than the allowance have more housing with four to eight defects, while residences costing more are l i k e l y to have either a very few or more than eight deficiencies (Table 2 Appendix E). 1. "Excess" rent refers to that portion of the rent which i s in excess of the rental allowance. "Excess" rent i s a comparitive term and does not refer to rent discussed independ-ently. 30 PO 4 65 Rental Grant Inadequate wash: ng f a c i l i t i e s Interior feeds repair Residence noi on main floor Exterior i n i eed of repair Inadequatr play space T i l l Figure 7. Distribution of Defects for Residences  Renting for More or Less than the  Rental Allowance 66 The family that wants satisfactory shelter i s l i k e l y to have to pay more than the rental allowance (Table 9). The median excess rent for good housing i s $12.50 compared to $6.00 and $3.75 for provisional and poor housing respectively. Even then, many families pay $20.00 or more excess rent and have poor housing. T^e amount of excess rent i s no guarantee of adequate housing. In housing available to low-inoome families the basis for adequate shelter i s usually the type of dwelling. Most of the housing cost-ing over $50.00 per month i s adequate. Sixty-one per cent of the housing costing the equivalent of, or less than, the rental allow-ance i s of poor quality. This housing also has a greater propor-tion of deficiencies adversely affecting family l i f e . The poorer types of housing are often the only recourse available to families who wish to stay within the rental grant (Table 10). The majority of the housing which i s available for less than the allowance,and i s also satisfactory, i s obtainable only by l i v i n g with relatives. Over 66 per cent.of relatives* homes are available for less than the rental grant. Good and pro-visional suites rent for more than the allowance, and most of the single-family houses and duplexes also cost more. Suites are the only type of housing readily available to families who have no outside help and wish to stay within the rental allowance, but they are also the least adequate (Table 3 Appendix E). Their median rent i s $10.00 in excess of the rental allowance, but this type of shelter i s occupied by families with smaller allowance than other types of residences. 67 Table 9 . Some Comparisons Between Rental Allow- ance and Adequacy Rent Com-pared to Rental Allowance Shelter Adecmacy Effe icf of shelter on r Helps family .life (a.) Creates poor home atmosphere Adds Extra Work Cramps child-ren Causes Poor Health Provi-Good sionai Poor Excess Over $20 10 - 19 0 - 9 Equal or Less; 5 2 5 8 2 7 5 5 8 5 ^ 1 ^ 6 10 9 11 5 5 5 10 1* 5 10 11 5 6 6 11 3 6 5 3 Total 23 13 3^ 36 25 30 j 28 17 (a)Shelter suitable for healthy family living. Table 10. Some Comparisons Between Type of Shelter and Adequacy Type of .1 Provi*; sionai Sub-totals Good* roor Shelter L M L M • L M Less More Total Single-family house 1 8 2 1 3 13 16 Duplex - h - - 2 2 . 2 6 8 Suites,apart-ment, or house-keeping rooms mm 3 h 7 17 7 2L. 31 Single-family house ovmed or occupied by relatives 3 2 1 3 9 if 13 Lodging - - 2 - — - 2 - 2 Total 5 18 If 9 20 i 23 h7. 70 1. L: Shelter costing less than the rental allowance. M: Shelter costing more than the rental allowance. 68 Families paying less than the rental allowance seem more l i k e l y to have u t i l i t i e s included i n their rent (Table 4 Appendix E). Only 35 per cent of these families have to provide a l l their u t i l i t i e s , compared to 53 per cent of the families pay-ing excess rent. This can be partially explained by the families i n the lower rental brackets who are l i v i n g with relatives. It i s a.decidedly bleak outlook for the family attempt-ing to find adequate shelter within the rental grant. A family without outside help i s l i t e r a l l y torn between two choices: pay-ing an exorbitant portion of their income in attempting to find satisfactory housing, or l i v i n g in poor housing and having more of their income available for daily necessities. Some families choose one solution, some the other. Neither one i s the real answer and a way to rehabilitation. Two-parent families are penalized by excessive costs over one-parent families, because the latter, although of the same size, may have need for less sleeping space and can, there-fore, have a better opportunity of obtaining shelter at a lower cost (Table 11). Whole families pay a median excess rent of about #11.00 a month compared with $7.00 for families with only one adult. The cost of children i s well illustrated by the fact that a family consisting of one parent and two children i s able to find shelter for a median of $3.00 excess while a parent and three children must pay a median of $10.00 excess. 69 Table 11. Comparison Between Rent and Rental Allow-ance for Broken and Whole Families Rent Compared to Rental Allowance Composition of Familv Total Number of Families 1 Parent 1 Parent 3 or More 2 Children Children 2 Parents 1 or More Children Excess Over $20 10 - 19 0 - 9 Equal or Less. 3 5 6 6 10 5 13 6 4 5 3 4 12 17 18 23 Total 32 22 16 70 Ability to Manage and Family Attitudes Rents and housing conditions of families on social assistance are not abstract occurrences resting in a vacuum, but matters of daily concern to these families, and must be observed from the family's viewpoint. The personal element has much to do with the family's a b i l i t y to manage a budget, to be reasonably happy, and to make the home a comfortable place to l i v e . The family i s the midpoint between housing and the manage-ment of the budget. To do a complete Intensive study of families on social assistance would require much more time and research than was available. It i s only possible to look at some of the more obvious family and shelter relationships and then speculate on the actual meaning of the conclusions. For the family on social assistance the management of the budget i s extremely important. It i s d i f f i c u l t enough 70 to make a limited income meet a l l necessary demands which are of normal proportions, hut when an unexpected expenditure occurs i t can do irreparable harm to a budget made inflexible by the lack of resources. The problem i s severe enough when the family i s able to keep the cost of housing within 20 to 25 per cent of the budget, but much worse when housing expenses become excess-ive. Management of the budget may consist of choosing between poor housing with less shelter expense, or better housing and less money for regular necessities. In attempting to give some insight into the influence of personality, the family's a b i l i t y to manage i s related to the adequacy of their housing, the length of time they have been*, known to the agency, the amount of excess rent they are paying, family size and personality. In order to obtain information which could be used to indicate the importance of the family's managerial a b i l i t y , one of the questions gave the social worker the opportunity of evaluating the family a b i l i t y to manage on a limited income. The answers are classified into four ratings ranging from excellent a b i l i t y to complete i n a b i l i t y to make ends meet. The second rating includes those who are usually able to manage, but they are not as efficient as the f i r s t group and may have occasional d i f f i c u l t y holding.the l i n e . The third rating applies to those who are only able to stay within the budget part of the time and may vary considerably between meet-ing expenses and accumulating debt or doing without necessities. The fourth group cannot manage a budget. It i s necessary to differentiate between factors which influence the family's managerial a b i l i t y , and those components f± of the family's environment which are dependent on the family's competency. Only by delineating the cause and effect i s i t possible to properly evaluate the importance of family compet-ency, and the pressures that affect this budgeting a b i l i t y . Ability to manage may have some bearing on the adequacy of shel-ter, and on the length of time a family has been known to the agency. The amount of excess rent, family size, and family character directly affect the family's budgeting. These two groups should be examined separately. Some families are obviously better able to manage than others (Figure 8). More families than might be expected, 30 per cent, show exceptional a b i l i t y , and over three-fifths of a l l the families are in the f i r s t two ratings. Excellent Ab i l i t y to Manage W777A Usually Able to Manage V///A Limited Ability to Manage V777T EZ2(k>od [Provisional [Poor Unable to Manage 0 10 — • — 20 i 30 t 35 Figure 8. Relationship Between Quality of Housing and Ability to Manage on a Limited Income (Based on Table 5 Appendix E) 72 Families who manage well do not have a typical qual-i t y of shelter. Managerial a b i l i t y does not insure good hous-ing, but families who are incapable of managing seem restricted to poorer quality housing. A very limited proportion of families who cannot manage have adequate or even provisional homes. A l -though i t i s l i k e l y that a competent family w i l l make a specific home more livable than would a family with no managerial a b i l i t y , i t i s hard to see how families who manage well could have much better shelter than those in the next two a b i l i t y ratings. The financial pressures are too great. The a b i l i t y to manage re-flects the way the family handles i t s finances. If the family has been forced to spend an excessive amount for adequate shel-ter, they cannot be expected to do an exceptionally good job of budgeting the remaining portion when the remainder i s i n s u f f i -cient to meet the demands placed upon i t . Social assistance can become a habit which i s d i f f i -cult to break. This i s shown by families who have been on assistance for ten to twenty-five years. Half the families sampled have been known for over three years (Table 12). The families who have been on assistance for the longer periods show less a b i l i t y to manage than others and pay a higher median excess rent than families with shorter contacts (Table 6 Appen-dix E). Within a f a i r l y long period of time two things may happen: (a) families with budgeting a b i l i t y have been able to get off assistance, and (b) a family who finds i t necessary to remain on assistance indefinitely may lose i t s i n i t i a t i v e and become emotionally and physically dependent on the agency. These p o s s i b i l i t i e s , and the d i f f i c u l t i e s evoked by excessive 73 shelter costs, place a considerable hardship on the budgeting a b i l i t y of families with lengthy agency contacts. The family who has been on assistance for a considerable length of time may need additional help from the social worker i f i t i s to make any headway toward rehabilitation. Concentrated help i s much more effective when the family f i r s t makes application than later. Table 13. Relationship Between Length of Time Family  Known to Agency, and Family's Ab i l i t y to  Manage on Limited Income Ability to Stay Within budget Years Known to Agency 0 - 3 3 - 5 6 & Over Total Excellent 8 8 5 31 Usually Able 9 9 6 34 Limited 7 3 7 17 Not Able 4 0 4 8 Total 38 30 22 70 The cost of housing can strongly influence the family's a b i l i t y to budget their monthly income. If the remain-ing portion of their income is not sufficient to meet expenses, the family w i l l have l i t t l e opportunity to even attempt to budget. Nearly three-quarters of the families paying no excess rent are eligible for the f i r s t two ratings of managerial a b i l -i t y , and almost half the families who show exceptional a b i l i t y to manage are not paying excess rent (Table 13). Ability to meet expenses decreases as payment of excess rent increases. 74 The only exceptions are families with the poorest a b i l i t y to manage who seem unable to handle their finances even with a minimum of housing expense. The median excess rent for those who are excellent managers i s $2.00, and for a l l other families i s between $9.00 and $10.00, which further explains the lack of adequate housing for families who budget well.. Table 13. Comparison Between Abi l i t y to Manage and Rent Pattern Abi l i t y to Stay Within Budget Excess Rent Equal or Less Rent $2 Over 10'-. 19 0 - 9 Total Excellent 3 2 6 10 21 Usually. Able 2 10 5 7 24 Limited 5 3 6 3 17 Not Able , 2 2 1 3 8 Total 12 17 18 23 70 The amount of excess rent seems to be one of the most direct pressures on a family's a b i l i t y to budget a small income. The fact agrees significantly-with the statement that families paying excessive rent^may not have sufficient resources remain-ing to take care of their immediate necessities).-Larger families have more d i f f i c u l t y budgeting than do the smaller ones. On an adequate monthly income six-, seven-, and eight-member families can probably make the dollar go a l i t t l e further than small families by bulk buying and using "hand-me-down" clothes. When the monthly income i s completely 7 5 inadequate, the family cannot buy larger quantities of food, or new clothes to replace the old ones. With greater demands in large families for food, clothing, floor space, and other necessities, i t i s small wonder that the small families have less d i f f i c u l t y budgeting. Three-member families show the best managerial a b i l i t y , and as the family size increases the a b i l i t y to manage decreases (Table 7 Appendix E). The family*8 a b i l i t y to budget properly i s severely limited by the pressures placed upon i t . Family size and excess rent place stringent limitations on the choice a householder has i n the disposition of his finances. One-half the families who manage well obtained their housing with outside help. Ade-quate housing,other than that provided by friends or relatives, often costs considerably more than the rental allowance, which immediately means that such housing i s not conducive to helping a limited income meet a l l expenses. Budgeting a b i l i t y i s not a f a i r criterion by which to judge the character or the personality of the family. It may in many instances, be an indication which should be considered, but in i t s e l f i s not valid. With the present social assistance grant the pressures which affect managerial a b i l i t y are so great that normal a b i l i t y can do l i t t l e to affect the handling of the budget except at extremes. I f , however, the basic a b i l i t y i s lacking, the family w i l l be completely unable to budget their grant. The choice of either good shelter or meeting other expenses brings deprivations. To some families good shelter may seem more logical, while to other families meeting the cost 76 of daily necessities might seem to be the less painful of the two alternatives. The a b i l i t y to manage has less effect than i t would had the family even a minimal standard of income. At that level the way in which the family managed i t s income would be of real significance, because there would be a sufficient income to cover normal expenses. The attitude of the family toward i t s e l f and assist-ance i s especially important for the social worker who i s help-ing the family. It i s the social worker who may play a v i t a l role in meeting the problems of income management, health, homemaking, and feelings and attitudes which may develop as a result of forced dependency on the agency. If i t i s possible to assist a family in forming a positive feeling or attitude and know that this w i l l help the family manage the home and f i n -ances more ef f i c i e n t l y , then the social worker has part of his work cut out for him, and he can realize the help he i s giving w i l l be extremely practical. It i s valuable to know the type of families who are paying more than the rental allowance. Are they the ones with a poor family structure, whom society w i l l have to support for the rest of their lives? Are they families attempting to re-habilitate themselves, and who see some hope of getting off assistance back into the independent community? Questions concerned with this part of the study gave the worker an opportunity to discuss generally his professional 77 opinion of the family. The three parts dealt with family s t a b i l i t y , family outlook on l i f e , and the attitude of the fam-i l y toward the agency. This information was not usually speci-f i c a l l y available from the record because i t constituted the worker's total picture of the family and was a blending of a l l his contacts with i t . It could be assumed that the personality of the fam-i l y has something to do with the type of housing in which the family i s l i v i n g . In order to carry this assumption further, the three areas of family charaoter were related to (a) the amount of excess rent the family i s paying, (b) the adequacy of their shelter, and (o) the managerial a b i l i t y of the family. It seemed that parts of the family personality are f a i r l y basic and are l i k e l y to be the result of several years molding. Although the budget, rent, and shelter might influence the family character to some extent, the personality of the family i s l i k e l y to have more of an influence on these things. This might be altered for families with long-term agency con-tacts, but not for families with shorter agency acquaintance-ship. The three aspects of family personality are examined to see how much they affect the budgeting a b i l i t y , excess rent, and adequacy of shelter. One portion of the family question deals with the immediate attitude of the family toward the agency. The agency plays a very special role in the lives of social assistance recipients. Some reactions to i t may be based on fear, h o s t i l -i t y , a feeling of dependence, or a true understanding of the 78 -agency's work. The way a family reacts to the worker w i l l de-pend on the way i t feels about receiving social assistance, (though i n turn, the way the family feels about assistance may depend on the sooial worker). Stability and outlook on l i f e seem to have considerable effect on the way the family lives and handles i t s social assistance grant; this i s not l i k e l y to be true of family attitude toward the agency. The prevailing attitude i s influenced by current events, including quality of shelter, family size, amount of rent, and treatment by the social agency. Three groupings are noted: families with a positive or negative attitude toward the agency, each including 40 per cent of the sample; and a dependent group which i s hard to classify in either bracket (Figure 9). The families who are better managers seem to have warmer feelings toward the agency than those who have more d i f f i c u l t y in meeting expenses (Table 14) . Families with poorer a b i l i t y to manage show more negative attitudes and are more demanding of the agency. The median excess rent for "demanding families" i s $16.00, which provides them proportionately with the best housing of any of the seven attitude classifications. Dependent families are paying a med-ian excess rent of $10.00. On the whole, though, families who feel positively toward the agency are paying an average of $9.00 excess compared to $5.00 excess for those who are less accepting of the agency. Satisfactory housing seems to have l i t t l e bear-ing on the attitude of a family toward the agency; good housing appears to shelter proportionately almost as many families with negative attitudes as does provisional and unsatisfactory shelter (Figure 10). 7 9 Unreliable Defensive ~2 Demanding ~~) Hostile ] Polite Acquiescence Dependent ] Accepts Requirements LP Figure 9. Distribution of Attitudes to Agency Among the Sampled Families (Based on Table 14; | A [ Accepts require-ments I B | Dependent |"Q~1 Acquiescence IT> | Defensive fijT"1 Hostile fir I Demanding \n I Unreliable - * t r •tkr A B 0 E F Gr A B 0 D E F Gf cob Satisfactory Housing Provisional or Poor Housing Figure 10. Family Attitudes Within Satisfactory or Provisional and Poor Quality Housing (Based on Table 14) so Table Ik, Relationship Between Attitude Toward Agency  and (A) Excess Rent, (B) Adequacy of Shelter  and (C) Ability to Manage LAI Attitude to Agency and Society Rent Compared to Rental Allowance Total Excess Rent Over $20 10-19 0-9 Equal or Less Rent Accepts Agency 28 Requirements h 9 5 10 Dependent h 3 3 h lh Polite Acquiescence 2 2 5 h 13 Defensive 1 1 1 3 Hostile mm • 3 2 5 Demanding 1 3 h Unreliable - . — 1 2 3 Total Homes 12 17 18 23 70 LBl Attitude to Agency and Society Adequacy of Shelter Total Good Provisional Poor Accepts Agency 15 28 Requirements 10 3 Dependent 3 h 7 l*f Polite Acquiescence 5 2 6 13 Defensive - --• 3 3. Hostile 2 1 2 5 Demanding 2 1 1 h Unreliable 1 2 - 3 Total Homes 23 13 3^ 70 Attitude to Agency \ Usually Not and SnMfitv "RTrr»Al 1 A n t Ahl A Li ml t . A d Ahlfl Total Accepts Agency l*f 28 Requirements 10 3 1 Dependent 1 6 5 2 Ih Polite Acquiescence h h if 1 13 Defensive 1 2 - - 3 Hostile 1 - 2 2 5 Demanding mm 1 2 1 h Unreliable mm 1 1 1 3 Total Homes 21 2h 17 8 70 81 Family s t a b i l i t y refers to the cohesiveness and unity of the family at the time assistance i s provided; not prior to application when there may have been a disrupting member i n the home. A stable family i s l i k e l y to.stay together even under f a i r l y severe pressures. The second rating of st a b i l i t y includes families who are f a i r l y constant, but show more inclination to disintegrate under pressure. They hold together normally, but i t would not take a great deal of stress to cause d i f f i c u l t y . The third rating refers to families with l i t t l e or no family, feeling and unity. With the least l i t t l e push they may cease, to function as a family. One-half the families studied are placed by the social worker into the f i r s t rating for family unity. This i s of spec-i a l significance for those who say a l l recipients of social assist-ance are "poor white trash" and are lucky to be receiving help of any kind. This cannot be true when the sample shows this kind of distribution. I t i s also important for the social worker to know that he w i l l often have a sound family structure on which to base his help. Usually a family with a feeling of unity i s an emo-tionally healthy family. The remainder of the families are d i v i -ded almost equally between second and third ratings. Feelings of family s t a b i l i t y apparently mean much to people receiving social assistance. (Table 15). If the family unit i s secure there i s often a much greater a b i l i t y to budget properly. Almost 80 per cent of the families i n the top c l a s s i -fication of st a b i l i t y also belong in the f i r s t two ratings of a b i l i t y to manage. These families do not spend an excessive Table 15 . Relationship Between Family Stability and  CA> Excess Rent. (B> Adequacy of Shelter,  and (C) Abil i t y to Manage (AX Comparison of Rent to Rental Allot?ance Stability and Unity Excess Rent Equal or Over $20 10-19 0-9 Less Rent Total Good Stability. 11 7 13 35 Stable i f Stresses • • Not too Great 6 5 h 2 17 Unstable 2 1 7 8 18 Total 12 17 18 23 70 Stability and Unity Adequacy;of Shelter Good Provisional Poor Total Good Stability Stable i f Stresses Not too Great Unstable I •6 h 3 *:i5 8 11 35 17 18 Total 23 13 31* 70 A b i l i t y to Manage on Limited Stability and Unity Income Usually Limited dot Total Able Able Good Stability 13 15 5 2 35 Stable i f Stresses Not too Great h 6 6 1 17 Unstable h (a) 3 6 5 18 Total 21 2h 17 8 70 (a> Ability to manage i s not always restricted to stable families. These four unstable families are a l l paying low enough rent to manage well. 83 amount for shelter, hut neither do they a l l l i v e i n inadequate housing. They pay a median excess rent of about $7.00 and attempt to achieve some kind of balance between shelter and other neces-s i t i e s . In spite of the limited average rent being used for shelter, they have the highest proportion of good housing of any of the three s t a b i l i t y ratings (Figure 11). Over 60 per cent of good housing i s occupied by stable families, while only about 44 per cent of provisional or poor housing i s inhabited by these families. Families of medium s t a b i l i t y are paying a typical ex-cess rent of abou$ $16.00. Stability seems to be a definite family asset which enables the family to handle i t s finances and housing on a practical l e v e l , and obtain the best possible return for i t s money. v//v//////7A xmmr^ssr 8p 4p 6j) 80_ I0p p > C Figure 11. Family Stability Within Satisfactory  or Provisional and Poor Housing (Based on Table 15) Stable I I Fairly Stable j H B L U n s t a b l e The third question.concerning the family's personality refers to i t s outlook on l i f e . Three possible answers are i n order* positive, negative,,, or indeterminate. Outlook on l i f e may include the family's attitude toward the future, plans for getting off assistance, complacency,, or resignation to the 84 present set of circumstances. The indeterminate families are probably those with whom the present worker has not yet had a great deal of contact. The division between positive and negative families i s almost identical, 40 and 39 per cent respectively. A posi-tive outlook on l i f e i s a real asset when i t comes to managerial a b i l i t y (Table 16). These families who look at things positively are better able to manage than other families. In spite of this they are paying a median excess rent of about #11.00 and are not obtaining a high proportion of adequate housing (Figure 12). Satisfactory housing i s occupied by fewer negative families of the than any/other qualities of shelter, and by a higher proportion of the indeterminate group. This i s an indication as to why the indeterminate families are so clas s i f i e d . They are paying a median excess rent of just over #6.00; forty-nine percent of their number are i n good housing, a,higher proportion than any . other group. They have l i t t l e cause to be vocal in comparison with the plight of some of the other families. It might well be assumed these families are not negative, but could probably be classed as having a positive outlook on l i f e . I f the indeter-minate group and the positive group can be classed together, then a family with a healthy outlook on l i f e has a better chance of making a satisfactory adaptation to social assistance. Summary 1. Although the typical rents of social assistance families are a good deal less than rents which many low-income families are paying, assistance families are using, on the average, 37 per cent of their income for shelter. The concept that only 20, or even 25, per cent of the income of low-income families should be used for shelter does not apply very well in cases where the 85 Table 16, Relationship Betw«Qn F a m i l y's Outlook on  Life and (A) Excess Rent. (B) Adequacy of  Shelter, and CO Ability to Manage Outlook on Life. Rent Compared to Renta] . Allowance Total Excess Rent Over $20 10-19 $-9 Equal or Less Rent Positive Indeterminate , Negative 5 10 5 2 2 5 5 5 8 8 6 9 28 15 27 Total 12 17 18 23 70 ( B l Outlook on Life Adeauacv of Shelter Total Good Provisional Poor Positive 9 6 13 28 Indeterminate 7 2 6 15 Negative 7 ,5 15 27 Total 23 13 ft , 70 (CI Ability to 1 fenaee on Limited Income Usually- Not Outlook on Life Excellent Able Limited Able Total -Positive 13 12 3 28 Indeterminate 3 5 5 z 15 Negative 5 7 9 6 1 27 Total 21 2h 17 8 1 70 86 A Satisfactory Housing V////////A 20 40 _§0 Figure 13. Family Outlook on L i f e Within Satis- factory or Provisional and Poor Qua-l i t y Housing (Based on Table 16) Provisional or Poor Housing iS°P.C. E Z Z J P o s i t i v e I | Indeterminate Negative income i s so low that to use that much for shelter would leave an insufficient amount to meet the family's daily expenses. This situation actually applies to some social assistance families. If they could lower shelter costs to 30 per cent, what was l e f t would be a l i t t l e more adequate for other necessities. 2. Very l i t t l e adequate shelter appears to be procurable for families who wish to remain within the shelter portion of the grant. Except for shelter with relatives, housing which costs less than the rental allowance i s of poorer quality than shelter costing more than the allowance. 3. Many pressures are placed on the managerial a b i l i t y of the family.: Two of the most powerful are family size and high rent. These are especially significant because of the limited resources available to the family. Actually the family, because of these pressures, has l i t t l e opportunity to display i t s best capacity for management, but i f such a b i l i t y were not present, even the limited control the family has over i t s finances would disappear. There i s not much opportunity for choice except between the two evils of poor housing and more money for other necessities, or better housing and less money for other expenses. Ability to manage, ao far as i t can be indicated, seems to have l i t t l e bear-ing on the adequacy of housing attained, perhaps because families accept low standards i n housing as a necessity. There i s evidense that families with poor managerial a b i l i t y are particularly l i v -ing i n unsatisfactory shelter. 4. The family's attitude i s determined i n part by i t s pre-sent situation, and usually reflects the way the family feels about social assistance. Family s t a b i l i t y and outlook on l i f e are more representative of the real personality of the family. Half the families are l i s t e d as stable, and almost the same number have a positive outlook. Both s t a b i l i t y and outlook affect the a b i l -i t y of the family to manage and seem to reflect a balance halfway between good and poor housing, perhaps in an attempt to maintain focus on both housing and budget. CHAPTER 4 HOUSING FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES That housing deficiencies are a burden to many fam-i l i e s i s generally recognized by social workers and frequently discussed in social work case records, but i t i s doubtful whether i t has been given the systematic attention i t deserves. "The housing problem" has not been pinpointed and differentiated i n such a manner that there i s f u l l awareness of the many components and of a l l the results of inadequate housing. Some social work-ers, who are keenly aware of housing d i f f i c u l t i e s , find them-selves unable to state specifically what these d i f f i c u l t i e s are, and what might be done to help the family. Nor are the standards prerequisite for adequate housing f u l l y understood. Some people accept a set of standards which are actually not high enough to provide adequate family l i v i n g conditions and basic welfare. The reverse i s also true, i.e., standards are often discussed and advocated which are too high or are unattainable by low-income families, and what i s also very important, by disabled, or "broken" families with an incapacitated father, or a widowed mother who i s unable to work and needs her f u l l time for the care of the children. The role of poor housing i n family l i f e may seem ob-vious; rather i t i s so obvious that i t has not been sufficiently defined. Facets of the "housing problem" which have been i l l u -minated by the present study are: 88 1. D i f f i c u l t i e s in finding adequate shelter. 2. Knowledge of what constitutes poor housing. 3. The effect of poor housing. 4. Ways of helping family overcome inadequate housing. 5. Method for examining housing problems. The concept of cost of housing within the social assistance grant i s also nebulous. The foundation of the shelter grant i s a basic shelter allowance which i s provided for a single person l i v i n g alone; each additional person included in a family unit warrants an additional $5.00 in the social assistance grant for the cost of shelter. Ho recognition i s given of what a particular family may have to pay for their shelter, or to othibr housing expenses such as u t i l i t i e s and furnishings which may c a l l for additional funds. Cost of shelter may vary considerably for families of the same size. A family with one adult and two child-ren may be able to find shelter for much less than a family of two adults and one child because of the latter family requiring an extra bedroom, or at least additional sleeping space. The cost of shelter can vary from over 40 per cent of the social assistance grant to under 20 per cent. Findings This survey i s directly representative of over 340 families on social assistance in the City of Vancouver; i t i s indicative of over 200 additional two-member social assistance families and describes housing conditions of many low-income families who are subsisting on standards slightly above social assistance. Over two-thirds of the families sampled have only one adult; the remaining families are incapacitated for one or more reasons. One-half of the sampled families are f a i r l y large 89 units, consisting of four or.more members. The survey represents handicapped families forced to apply for social assistance because of the loss of earning-power. Problems which would be less severe to "normal" families can be real burdens to families lacking i n resources available to the remainder of the community. Almost half the families surveyed are l i v i n g in shel-ter which i s inadequate to meet their minimum requirements. A l -though suites and apartments are the most accessible for social assistance families because of generally lower costs, they are also the poorest type of shelter. Suites occupied by social assistance families are seldom new, are often converted out of stores or old houses, and are often decrepit and dirty. Usually their small size and poor physical condition prevent them from being satisfactory family dwellings. Single-family houses usually provide the best shelter, especially i f they have more rooms, yard or garden, laundry f a c i l i t i e s , and storage space, but they are also the most expensive. Their rents are relatively high; they have to be heated and have the additional costs of other u t i l i t i e s and furnishings. Judging from the present sample, nearly twice as many families l i v e i n suites as in single-family houses. The type of dwelling almost invariably determines i f the shelter i s adequate to meet the family's needs. Although rent i s also a determinant, i t i s less important until i t sur-passes $50.00 per month. At this point higher rents mean shel-ter with fewer deficiencies. Even though there are instances where high rent supplies only the poorest type of shelter, judging 90 from the total picture, the lowness of rent determines within each speoific type of housing the number of deficiencies that are to be expected. Both family size and income play an important part in finding satisfactory housing. Since the social assistance grant i s based solely on family size, the two are naturally interwoven. Family size alone has much to do with the adequacy of shelter because i t i s easier to find satisfactory housing for three or four people than for five to eight persons. Smaller families are less demanding of floor space, but the larger fam-i l i e s have additional bargaining power in the form of a larger social assistance grant. In spite of low incomes i t i s possible to find some families with a budget permitting as much as $45.00 or $50.00 a month for rent. That i s s t i l l not high, however, in relation to current rental levels, and especially since rent con-trols have almost disappeared. With the exception of only nine of the sampled seventy, each home surveyed has at least one deficiency which would be detrimental to the family in some manner. Of the nine families l i v i n g in shelter with no noted defects, only one of them found this housing without help from an outside source. The number of defects varies from none to eleven and the mean was 4.4 per rental unit. Two of the three most common deficien-cies are also the most serious for the family: crowded sleeping and l i v i n g quarters. 91 Twenty to twenty-five A per cent i s the accepted por-tion of family income which can safely be set aside for shelter by low-income families. I f , however, income i s too low, i t i s not safe to put aside this amount as i t would deprive the family of resources to meet other necessities. This problem confronts many social assistance families. Some cannot really afford to spend even 20 per cent of their income for shelter, but in spite of this, many of these same families are forced to pay much larger proportions of their income for shelter. Only 4 per cent of the recipients are revealed as able to keep within 20 per cent of the monthly income, and only 16 per cent are able to find shelter within 25 per cent of their income. One-third of the families are able to find shelter within their rental allowance, and half of the families are able to cope with their shelter needs by allowing 37 per cent of their grant to be used for rent. The family must make a choice between good shelter, other family essentials, or attempting to strike a middle ground between these demands. Families paying rent in excess of their rental allow-ance, of course, have greater opportunity for finding adequate shelter. A considerable outlay of money in excess of the rental allowance i s often required in order to provide a single-family house. Shelter costing less than the allowance evidently has more detrimental characteristics than shelter costing more than the allowance. 1. The 25 per cent figure i s cited to agree with the previous discussion of the exclusion of family allowance when describing total social assistance income. 92 Four things seem to affect the family's a b i l i t y to manage a budget. These are: the character of the family, family size, amount of excess rent, and length of contact with the agency. There i s l i t t l e opportunity for a family to attempt to budget pro-perly with the pressures of family size and excess rent both plac-ing limitations on the use of the grant. Families with the best adjustment seem to be able to strike a balance between adequate shelter and keeping as much money on hand as possible to meet current expenses. They pay more than the allowance for rent, but not as much as the median rent for good housing. At least 50 per cent of the families were judged by the workers to be of stable material and to have a positive out-look on l i f e . It i s impossible to say that a l l social assistance recipients are irresponsible families who expect to be cared for by society. Social Work and Social Assistance Almost everyone w i l l readily acknowledge that current housing conditions are not satisfactory for recipients of social assistance. The present social assistance grant does not provide enough money for the family to obtain adequate shelter, were shelter available. The City Social Service Department has recom-mended changes for several years in the size of the grant in order to provide for more adequate housing, and has supplemented some rental allowances. Their recommendation i n 1949 read: If the combined efforts of the three levels of govern-ment to meet the housing needs require a rental of $30.00 to $35.00 monthly, there i s obviously something out of focus when the people whose sole support i s provided by 93 these same governments are expected to f i n d shelter at a much lower rate. These figures have changed, but the problems remain the same, i f not worse. When L i t t l e Mountain was i n the planning stage, over f i v e years ago, i t was believed that average rents for the pro-j e c t would be between $30.00 and $35.00. Because of increased building costs and other required changes, the average rent i s over $45.00 per month. I t i s l i k e l y that rents families must now pay for s h e l t e r , outside of a housing project, have increased even more, and the gap between the r e n t a l grant and the cost of shelter i s greater than i n 1949. The p r o v i n c i a l s o c i a l a s s i s t -ance grants are prescribed by law, and the Cit y of Vancouver does not see i t s way clear to increase the grant because the cost of the increase would have to be born e n t i r e l y by the c i t y . The entire answer to the problem of housing may not rest with the shelter allowance. It might be possible to increase the grant by $5.00 to $7.00 for each family, but would th i s solve the r e a l problem? Due to a l i m i t e d supply of housing the family might remain i n the same shelter and pay a d d i t i o n a l rent to the same landlord. Examples of this have been reported previously by the Cit y Social Service Department. An increase i n the grant of $5.00 to $7.00 would not permit families to obtain any new apartments as these are renting from $75.00 to $100.00 per month. The number of single-family houses and duplexes available for rent i s l i m i t e d . Some conversions might be made of older b u i l d -ings to multiple use, but this would probably be l i m i t e d , and. might not be s a t i s f a c t o r y housing. The bare fa c t i s that unless there i s an a d d i t i o n a l quantity of shelter a v a i l a b l e to meet the i n c r e a s e d p u r c h a s i n g power of the s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e f a m i l i e s , r e n t s would, l i k e l y r i s e a n d f a m i l i e s w o u l d be no b e t t e r o f f t h a n p r e v i o u s l y . On t h i s b a s i s i t might be w e l l w o r t h q u e s t i o n i n g t h e v a l u e of i n c r e a s i n g t h e s h e l t e r p o r t i o n of the g r a n t w i t h o u t i n c r e a s i n g t h e h o u s i n g s u p p l y . I t must be acknowledged t h a t s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e f a m i l i e s a r e s p e n d i n g too much o f t h e i r income f o r s h e l t e r . I f i t were p o s s i b l e to i n c r e a s e the s h e l t e r p o r t i o n of the g r a n t t o meet c u r r e n t h o u s i n g e x p e n d i t u r e s , w i t h o u t c a u s -i n g an i n c r e a s e i n r e n t s , t h e n t h e r e m a i n d e r o f t h e g r a n t w o u l d n o t have t o assume p a r t of the h o u s i n g c o s t and w o u l d be more i n l i n e w i t h t h e e s s e n t i a l d a i l y e x p e n s e s . S i n c e the w h o l e answer may n o t r e s t w i t h i n c r e a s e d s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e g r a n t s , t h e q u e s t i o n might t h e n be r a i s e d : I s t h e p r o b l e m any l o n g e r t h e c o n c e r n o f t h e s o c i a l w o r k e r ? The answer i s d e f i n i t e l y " Y e s " . The f a m i l y ' s h a p p i n e s s and r e h a b i l i -t a t i o n depend on a d j u s t m e n t s to i t s p r e s e n t s i t u a t i o n , a n d t h i s i s an a r e a i n w h i c h t h e s o c i a l w o r k e r can be o f r e a l h e l p . The s o c i a l w o r k e r has h i s i n i t i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o t h e f a m i l y and t o t h e a g e n c y . At the time of a p p l i c a t i o n e l i g i b i l i t y must be d e t e r m i n e d , r e g u l a t i o n s e x p l a i n e d , a n d t h e f a m i l y s h o u l d be h e l p e d w i t h i t s f e e l i n g s about b e i n g dependent on an agency f o r s u p p o r t . Work w i t h t h e f a m i l y ' s f e e l i n g s can r e q u i r e a c o n s i d e r a b l e d e g r e e of casework s k i l l , a n d i f t h e r e i s v e r y much o f a h o s t i l e o r n e g a t i v e a t t i t u d e , t h e f a m i l y w i l l have more d i f f i c u l t y i n a c h i e v i n g s a t i s f a c t o r y adjustment or r e h a b i l i t a t i o n . 95 The s o c i a l worker also has his r o l e with the family while i t i s receiving assistance. The family's a b i l i t y to manage may often be based on i t s own outlook on l i f e and i t s i n t e r n a l pressures. The a b i l i t y to make a house a home depends on the pers o n a l i t i e s of the family members. I f the worker can help the family to be happier, not complacent, but better able to manage under i t s present circumstances, then the s o c i a l worker i s performing a r e a l service. The s o c i a l worker can also give tangible help i n the management of budget, including food purchases and household expenses. Some families would, l i k e to manage more adequately than they do, but do not have the "know-how". The s o c i a l worker has the continued job of acting as l i a i s o n between the family and the agency providing assistance. The s o c i a l worker's f i n a l d i r e c t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s to help the family return to i t s independent status. This plan-ning should begin as soon as the family applies f o r assistance, but may be a long-term process, requiring casework s k i l l s , and the use of other community resources. As a r e s u l t of the l i m i t e d f i n a n c i a l assistance which can be offered, greater r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s placed on the s o c i a l worker to provide agency services to the family. The personal service, which the caseworker can o f f e r , w i l l l i k e l y have as much influence on the family ag. the provision of f i n a n c i a l a s s i s t -ance. The worker also has a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to the community to int e r p r e t l o c a l welfare needs, and to a s s i s t the community i n meeting these needs. This r e s p o n s i b i l i t y includes the extension of the s o c i a l worker's assistance to housing authorities i n the s e l e c t i o n of tenants, and the helping of tenants once they are occupants of a housing project. There i s a great deal of exper-ience with t h i s i n Great B r i t a i n , the United States, and Continental Europe, and much e f f e c t i v e work can be done. The s o c i a l worker could be of r e a l value i n assess-ing the family's need for public housing, i n helping families make the most of housing, i n helping them make application f o r i t , and f i n a l l y helping those whose applications have been re-jected. The Vancouver C i t y Social Service Department should be consulted by the Vancouver Housing Authority and the Vancouver City Council concerning housing problems for recipients of s o c i a l assistance and concerning plans for better housing for t h i s seg-ment of the population. Public Housing Public housing may be the answer to the housing prob-lem for s o c i a l assistance f a m i l i e s . The l i m i t e d supply of ade-quate shelter, and the current costs of building,mean that a blanket increase of the grant, as a means of providing better housing, would not work. Some f a m i l i e s , by reason of physical i l l n e s s or composition, i . e . , a mother with several children, w i l l be unable to earn any income for many years. With a l i m i t e d supply of housing available,, even an increase i n t h e i r grant would not benefit them i n the same way that low-rental public housing would. Building costs make i t impossible for private con-tractors to erect housing-for-rent at a rental low enough for the 97 strata of society with small incomes. For these families i t i s cheaper to pay subsidies for housing rather than to l e t whole segments of a city l i v e in poor housing. Some of the present housing in which soeial assistance families l i v e i s of slum quality or i n seriously ;bligb*.ed areas. The need for low-cost housing i s , however, as evident for many social assistance families and low-income groups who l i v e outside the slum area. One of the special needs of low-income families i s housing which will.accept tenants with children. Finding a home that w i l l per-mit children i s one of the most d i f f i c u l t and heartrending as-pects of looking for shelter. The present policy of the Vancouver Housing Authority in their administration of L i t t l e Mountain housing project i s not to admit any recipients of social assistance. One might won-der about the factual basis and the justification of this deci-sion since, appropriately enough, pensioners and mother's allow-ance families are admitted. If this practice of not admitting social assistance recipients i s continued, i t can have serious effects on low-income families l i v i n g i n Vancouver. Not only are these the people who really need help, but they are also the people whose only basic help can be better housing. It i s much better to subsidize public housing and insure that the family benefits, than to subsidize the family directly and s t i l l have them keep the same quality housing they had originally. While families continue to l i v e i n inadequate housing, the resulting effects on children and parents may well cost the city more for municipal service than i t would to house the families properly i n i t i a l l y . 98 It might be that the social assistance shelter allowance would have to be raised to bring i t in line with rents charged by the housing project. A housing project cannot be expected to subsidize shelter allowances of an assistance pro-gram i f these allowances are out of li n e with the rent ajequired by the project for i t s operation. Legislation has been passed by the Dominion govern-ment for the building of low-income rental housing projects and i n i t i a t i v e for such developments rests with the local government. The way i s open for the building of low-rental housing for families, i f enough interest can be aroused to extend the devel-opments of which L i t t l e Mountain marks an effective beginning. From the present study, one of the roles of social work in the f i e l d of housing becomes clearer; bringing to the foreground more of the facts of existing housing and existing family circumstances. There i s s t i l l much more to be studied, and many facts have yet to be presented to interested government agencies and citizens. Social work can be a key instrument i n plans for providing adequate housing of low-income families. There i s room for a study of the social work po s s i b i l i t i e s in housing projects, and an assessment of the benefits which would accrue to the individual and community through social work activity in this area. 99 City of Vancouver Social Service Department  Unit Boundaries 100 Appendix B. Distribution of Cases Sampled  as Compared to Number of Cases . i n Each Family Size Center West South East No. i n Unit(a) Unit Unit Unit Total Grant (Family) C S C S c S C S C S 3 Ih 3 52 10 39 8 69 l*r 17^ 35 h 6 1 18 h 23 5 52 10 99 20 5 6 1 h 1 16 3 19 h ^5 9 6 2 - 3 1 5 1 7 1 17 3 7 1 - 2 .... 1 - 6 2 10 2 8 — - - - 2 1 - - 2 1 Total 29 5 79 16 86 18 153 31 3^ 7 70 (a) C: Cases S: Samples 101 1. Case No.. 2 . Street Questionnaire' Group. No*. District Block 'No. -(Appendix C) _. Grant_ Worker 3. Age M. F Others H F" Length of agency contact __. yrs. mo. h. Reason for application: Week 5. Rent Month Rent is more, less,. Amount of extra rent allowed in grantj same as rental allow. E. Client lives on A. TYPE OF RESIDENCE Single-family house _ Single-family house relatives F. _____ Duplex Suites INTERIOR Lodging (Type^ New Other • Old floor. CONDITION OF RESIDENCE EXTERIOR B. RMS.AVAILABLE TO CLIENT'S FAM. Clean. Private shared small med.lge. Dirty. Kitchen Bath Bedrm# Living Other Satisfactory, Needs repair" C. UTILITIES Purpose: Type Inc.in rent Extra Cooking Heating _ _ Lighting . • Hot water ______ G. NEIGHBORHOOD Industrial Crowded. Commercial Dirty ~ Residential Clean _ Well kept. Run down D. Furnished Unfurnished If partly furnished what included Neighborhood satisfactory for children? Yes No In worker's estimation: a. Are quarters cramped for this family? Yes No. b. Cooking fa c i l i t i e s : Old , Poor repair -Costly Inadequate Adequate c. Heating f a c i l i t i e s : Old Poor repair Costly Inadequate Adequate d. Bathing, toilet, and laundry facilities:: Poor repair Dirty Crowded Inconvenient. Inadequate Adequate __. e. Sleeping fa c i l i t i e s : Adequate ,. i f not, why 102 (Appendix C continued)) f. Closest play space for children: In fraud Within 2001 500' None Remarks ' -g. Does this family's housing- Yes Jfo Help i t to maintain a healthy family life? Contribute to family dissatisfactions? Adversely affect children's behavior? - •  Contribute to physical i l l health? _ , Add to housewife's chores and difficulties? h. Estimation of family's ability to manage on limited income: Excellent ability to stay within budget. Usually able to stay within budget. Limited ability to stay within budget. Unable to stay within the budget. i . . General character of the family-(a) Stability: . Good Good i f stresses not too great Unstable (b) Outlook on l i f e : Positive Undetermined Negative (c) Attitude toward society and agency:: Able to accept agency requirements Excessively dependent on agency Polite acquiescence Defensive Hostile Demanding Unreliable A worker in one of the agencies suggested an. additional question which should be included, but which was mentioned too late to be in the study. It was: Is the rent which the family is paying out of line with other rents In the community for the same type and quality of shelter? 103 APPENDIX D Supplementary tables used in Chapter 2 Page Table 1. Rents required for various types of shelter..104 Table 2. Types of shelter including u t i l i t i e s with the rental payment.... .104 Table 3. Comparison of rent to adequacy of shelter......105 Table 4. Comparison of adequacy to type of shelter 105 Table 5. Frequency of poor housing characteristics in comparison to rents 106 Table 6. Comparison of rent to number of defects 107 Table 7. Comparisons of family size to adequacy of shelter. 108 Table 8. Comparisons of monthly income to cost of shelter 108 104 (Appendix D) Table 1. Rents Required for Various Types of Shelter Single-family house(a) Duplex Suite,apart-ment, house-keeping room Single-family house occupied by relatives Lodg-ing Tot-al Rent F U F U F U F U F Under $20 20 - 2k-2$ - 29 30 - 3^ 8:8 k-5 - i*9 $50 up 1 -- 3 - 1 2 - 3 2 1 3 1 -1 -I k-- 1 - 1 2 2 2 1 \ I 1 3 2 3 1 3 1 1 2 k- 1 1 1 1 1 -mm mm 1 1 1 13 6 15 7 9 9 Total 2 Ik- 2 6 12 19 9 k- 2 70 (a) F: Furnished U: Unfurnished, inadequately furnished Table 2. Types of Shelter Including Utilities  with the Rental Payment Type of Shelter Utilities included in rent Sub-Total Total None One Two Three A l l .SAnRie-faoAiy. . house Furnished 2 _ — mm 2 Unfurnished Ik- _ mm _ _ 1* 16 Duplex Furnished 1 mm . 1 2 Unfurnished 5 mm — 1 6 8 Sui te.anartment housekeeping room Furnished 2 1 1 2 6 12 Unfurnished 5 3 6 1 k- 19 2k Single-family house with relatives(a) Furnished 1 1 1 •6 9 Unfurnished 3 1 _ - 11 Lodging - - - - 2 2 2 Total 33 6 ? 3 1? 70 70 (as)In house owned or occupied by relatives or friends 105 (Appendix D) Table 3 . Comparison of Rent to  Adequacy of Shelter Rent Shelter adequacy" Effect of shelter on the family ' Provi-Good sionai Poor Helps Creates a Adds Cramps Causes family poor home Extra child- poor life(a) atmosphere work ren health Under $20 20 - 2h 25 - 29 30 - 3£ *f0 - *f4 h5 - 4-9 $50 up 2 - 1 1 1 6 3 6 if 1 1 if 5 1 9 2 2 3 if 1 h 5 1 3 2 2 1 2 1 3 2 5 k 1 8 3 5 3 2 2 3 **• 3 2 7 5 7 6 if if 3 2 3 2 3 4 if 4 3 7 3 2 3 2 Total 23 13 3 1* 36 25 30 28 17 Table if. . Comparison of Adequacy- to Type of Shelter Shelter adequacy Effect of shelter on family Type of shelter Good Provi-sional Poor Helps family life(a) Creates a Adds Cramps.Causes poor home extra child- poor atmosphere work ren health Single-family house 9 if 3 13 2 3 2 if Duplex if - if 5 1 if 2 2 Suite,apart-ment, house-keeping room 3 if 2if 8 17 19 20 10 Single-family house with relatives 7 3 3 9 if 3 1 Lodging - 2 - 1 1 mm* 1 -Total 23 13 3 1* 36 25 30 28 17 (a)Shelter suitable to healthy family l i v i n g 106 (Appendix D) Table 5 . Frequency of Poor Housing Character- istics in Comparison to Rents Rent Un-der To-Defect $20 20 2? Vi IfO i f f 50 ta,l Crowded living quarters 1 h 5 3 9 if 5 35 Poor sleeping facilities 1 3 7 2 8 3 5 if 33 Shared bath - 6 6 2 3 3 5. 1 26 Inadequate cooking facilities 1 3 1 3 5 2 3 l 19 Inadequate heating facilities 2 h h h 5 1 h 2 26 Inadequate lighting - - mm - 2 - - - 2 Inadequate water heating - 1 1 - 2 - — _ Inadequate washing facilities 1 h 5 3 h 2 »f 1 2*f Interior dirty, needs repair 2 2 h 9 3 if 2 30 Residence above main floor or in basement mm 2 l 2 7 3 \ 3 22 Exterior in need of repair 2 h h h 9 3 6 2 Inadequate play space 1 3 3 2 h 3 3 23 Detrimental neighborhood 1 5 2 3 9 3 if h 31 Total number of defects 12 hi: h3 32 76 31 lf7 27 309 Residences with no defects 1 1 3 1 1 2 - - 9 No. of units surveyed in each rental bracket 3 8 13 6 15 7 9 9 70 107 (Appendix D) Table 6 . Comparison of Rent to  Number of Defec€s Distribution of defects i n rental bracket Un-der $50 No. of Range Median Defects $20 20 25 30 35 up Homes of rents rent 0 1 1 3 1 1 2 tan 9 $ 1 7 - ^ $28.00 1 - - - 3 - 1 3 7 25-67 if 5 .00 2 - 1 2 - 1 1 3 3 11 20-75 if 5 .00 3 1 mm 1 1 1 ' — — 1 5 11-60 37.50 h - mm 3 - - 1 1 5 25-^5 27.50 5 - 2 H - 2 - 1 - 6 20-if5 32 .50 6 - mm 2 1 1 - - - if 27-35 3 0 . 0 0 7 - 3 1 2 1 1 _ 1 9 20-60 3 0 . 0 0 8 - 1 - - 2 1 _ 1 5 2if-50 37.50 9 1 - - 1 2 — — — if 19-35 3^.00 10 - - — _ 1 1 2 _ if 3 5 - f e if 2 .50 11 1 - 1 if 5 . oo 'Total 3 8 13 6 15 7 9 9 ! 70 • - ($37^00) 108 (Appendix D) Table 7. Comparisons of Family Size  to Adequacy of Shelter Family size Shelter adequacy. Effect of shelter on family Provi-Good sionai Poor Helps Creates a Adds Cramps Causes family poor home extra child- poor l i f e (a) atmosphere work :.'reh health 3 h 5 . 6-7-8 . :.8. 11 16 11 1 8 2 - 7 2 1 3 17 13 1'6 l*r 10 12 6 5 8; 2 3 h 7 5 h 4- 2 2 1 1 Total 23 13 3^ 36 25 30 28 17 (a)Shelter suitable to healthy family l i v i n g Table 8. Comparisons of Monthly Income to Cost of Shelter Social assistance grant and familv s i z e 3 5 6 7 8 With Rent $83.50 97.50 111.50 125.50 139.50 153.50 Total relatives Under $20 1 1 1 - 3 2 20 - 2k- 6 1 1 _ 8 2 25 - 29 11 1 - 1 - - - 13 if 30 - 31*- 5 - 1 .. . - - 6 1 6 1 i 1 1 1 . 1 2 15 7 2 h5 - h9 3 5 1 - - 9 1 $50 up 2 3 3 - 1 9 1 Total 35 20 9 3 2 1 70 With relatives (b) 8 3 2 - ... r - 13 (b) Living i n residence owned or occupied by relatives or fri~e*nds 109 APPENDIX E S u p p l e m e n t a r y t a b l e s u s e d i n C h a p t e r 3 Page T a b l e 1. A c t u a l r e n t s compared w i t h s h e l t e r allovtrance 110 T a b l e 2 . D i s t r i b u t i o n o f home d e f e c t s i n r e l a t i o n to r e n t a l p a t t e r n . . 110 T a b l e 3. R e n t a l p a t t e r n s f o r v a r i o u s t y p e s o f s h e l t e r I l l T a b l e 4. P r o v i s i o n o f u t i l i t i e s i n r e l a t i o n t o r e n t a l p a t t e r n I l l T a b l e 5. R e l a t i o n s h i p between q u a l i t y o f h o u s i n g and a b i l i t y o f f a m i l y t o manage on l i m i t e d income....112 T a b l e 6. L e n g t h o f c o n t a c t w i t h agency compared to r e n t a l p a t t e r n s 113 T a b l e 7. C o m p a r i s o n of a b i l i t y t o manage a n d f a m i l y s i z e . .112 110 (Appendix E) Table 1. Actual Rents Compared with  Shelter Allowance -Shelter Allowance Excess rent Equal or less rent Total $20 & over 1 0 - 1 9 0 - 9 $25.00 3 0 . 0 0 35*00 W . 0 0 ^ 5 . 0 0 50.00 5 7 10 k Q $ 2 2 2 1 1 Z Z 13 3 3 2 2 35 20 9 3 2 1 Total 12 17 18 23 70 1 Table 2 . Distribution of Home Defects  i n Relation to Rental Pattern Total defects within home Rent i n relation to allowance A l l Less More Homes 0 - 3 8 2k 32 k - 7 . 12 12 2k 8 - 11 3 11 Ik Total homes 23 k7 70 I l l (Appendix E) Table 3 . Rental Patterns for Various  Types of Shelter Excess Rent Equal or Less Rent Type of Shelter $20 & over 10 - 19 0 - 9 Total Single-family house If if 5 3 16 . Duplex - 2 Jf 2 8 Suite ^ apartment or housekeeping rooms Furnished Unfurnished 2 6 If h 3 5 I 12: 19 Single-family house, owned or occupied by relatives or friends - 3 1 9 13 Lodging mm - - 2 2 Total 12 17 18 23 70 Table h. Provision of U t i l i t i e s i n  Relation to Rental Pattern U t i l i t i e s , Excess Rent Equal or Included i n Rent $20 & over 10 - 19 0 - 9 Less Rent Total None 5 7 13 8 33 One _ 1 1 h 6 Two 1 1 3 9 Three - 2 - 1 3 A l l 3 6 3 7 19 Total 12 17 18 23 70 112 (Appendix E) Table 5 . Relationship Between Quality of Honsing  and Ability of Family to Manage OD~  Limited Income ' ..; Adequacy of Housing Ability Provi-to Manage Good sional Poor Total Excellent 8 5 8 21 Usually Able 6 Ih 2h Limited 8 3 6 17 Not Able 1 1 6 8 Total Homes 23 13 3k 70 Table 6 . Length of Contact with Agency  Compared to Rental Patterns Years Known to Agency Rent in Relation to Rental Allowance Total No. P.C. Less No. P.C. More No. P.C. 0 - 2 3 - 9 10 or more 11 *f7.8 10 *K3.5 2 8 .7 17 3 6 . 2 21 ¥f.7 9 19.1 28 kO 31 **k 11 16 Total 23 100 h7 100 70 100 Table 7 . Comparison of Ability to Manage Anq Family Size Family Size Ability to Stay Within Budget Total Excellent Usually Able Limited Not Able 3 13 11 8 3 35 h h 10 h 2 20 ... 5 • k 2 9 6-7-8 h 1 1 6 Total 21 2h 17 8 70 113 BIBLIOGRAPHY (A) Books Abbott, Edith, The Tenements of Chicago 1908-1935. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, I l l i n o i s , 1936. . Borland, Wilson S., "Housing and City Planning", Social Work Year Book. 1951. Carver, Humphrey, A.R.I.B.A., Houses for Canadians University of Toronto Press, 1948. Hovde, Bryn J., "Housing and City Planning", Social  Work Year Book. 1954. (B) Periodicals Marquette, Bleeker, "The Relationship Between Commu-nity Social Welfare Agencies and Housing", Public Welfare. Vol. 12, No. 11, April 1954. Canadian Welfare. "Housing and L i f e " , The Canadian Welfare Council, Ottawa, Canada, Vol. 28, No. 6, December 15, 1952. Public Welfare. "Public Assistance Standards", Vol. 7 No. 2, February 1949. (C) Pamphlets Stratton, P.R.U., Houses for A l l . "The Housing Scene", Proceedings of the Housing Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, January 1954, sponsored by the Vancouver Housing Association i n cooperation with Community Planning Association of Canada (B.C. Division). Survey of Families with Children Living i n Shared  Accommodation. Vancouver Housing Association, May 1954. The Housing Situation in Vancouver, report of Vancouver Housing Association, January 1948. A Guide to Family Spending. Toronto Welfare Council, 1951. Financial Assistance. "Philosophy, Principles, and Practices in the Giving of Financial Assistance", Canadian Wel-fare Council, Ottawa, Canada, 1954. 114 (0) Pamphlets (Continued) Housing Vancouver, abridged report issued April 1947 of a report issued March 1946 by Vancouver Housing Associa-tion. (D) Theses Evans, Maureen Ethel, Living on a Marginal Budget. (Master of Social Work thesis) The university of British Colum-bia, Vancouver, B.C., 1953. Wheeler, Michael, Evaluating the Need for Low-rental  Housing. (Provisional t i t l e ) (Master of Social Work thesis) .The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., 1955. Information was also obtained from Vancouver Housing Association monthly reports, City Social Service Annual Reports, and from a report on housing conditions issued by the Family Service Association of America. 


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