Furniture is one of the most expensive purchases that many people will make in their lifetimes, along with buying a home and car. The cost of basic furniture, like a kitchen table, chairs, or a mattress can often be surprisingly high. Combined with the increasingly unaffordable housing market in major cities like Toronto, establishing a new home can be an extremely expensive undertaking.
Unfortunately, the problem of home insecurity has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many workers have been laid off or had their work hours reduced, resulting in widespread unemployment or under-employment. People whose work is affected by the pandemic may have much less income to put towards essential expenses like rent, groceries, or medication, let alone purchasing quality home furniture.
Social assistance programs already do not realistically reflect the cost of living in the GTA. Many people already struggle to afford basic household expenses, and the coronavirus pandemic has only made the situation more dire.
New immigrants to Canada who arrived before the outbreak of the coronavirus may also be struggling to survive in this unprecedented situation, and not yet have developed the support system that they need to maintain safe and healthy homes. Now more than ever, these people need the support of community organizations like the JRCC Furniture Depot to try to relieve some of the burden of setting up a new household.
Domestic violence is another factor that causes people to leave their homes and try and establish new ones. Domestic violence has risen worldwide during the pandemic, as people have been forced to stay home. Loss of income, stress, and isolation are all factors that may contribute to these increased numbers, all of which have become much more common during the COVID-19 outbreak. The JRCC Furniture Depot works with several social service agencies across the GTA that support victims of domestic violence, providing free furniture to those who are leaving unsafe environments or temporary housing situations.
People who are losing their regular income during the COVID-19 crisis, newcomers to Canada, and those escaping domestic violence all face different obstacles in trying to weather this pandemic. It is vital that we take care of those who are vulnerable and support them in setting up new, safe homes. Donating furniture can go a long way in ensuring their success away from dangerous situations.