Community considers poverty strategy

Report on poverty reduction will be presented to City


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This article was published 03/07/2017 (2089 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Residents from throughout the city gathered at Winnipeg Harvest on June 27 to learn more about a possible poverty reduction strategy.

The draft has been created by the Social Planning Council and Make Poverty History Manitoba and is based on consultations with residents from various Winnipeg neighbourhoods. On June 27, residents were invited to give their input towards a final report that will be presented to the City of Winnipeg in late summer or early fall.

The recommendations of the report fall under the categories of reconciliation and Indigenous topics, income and employment, housing, recreation, community and civic engagement, justice and safety, food security, public spaces, child care, health care and accessibility rights.

According to the report draft, the poverty rate in the inner city is 29.8 per cent, and 11.7 per cent in other areas.

West End resident Renzo Ordonez came out to learn more about rent increases.

“I’m trying to figure out how the government could have a rent cap,” Ordonez said. “Every year the landlord increases the rent. I pay $700 and I get a note that next year I pay $20 more. I don’t complain, I have a job, but I see my friends, they struggle with that. It can make a big difference.

“Not everyone has access to Manitoba Housing. You have to have a family. There’s no Manitoba Housing for single guys who are struggling, there’s not.”

Margaret Ormand said there isn’t enough in the report that focuses on homelessness and that following reports like the 2015 Street Census, there isn’t a need for education surrounding homelessness—rather, the City should be prioritizing the issue.

“There have been several (studies) that have been done, and what was the response from the City or the citizenship to that information?”

Dennis Bonin said he also came out to the forum to learn more about the homelessness issue, but that asking the community to lean on the City for change might be asking too much from residents who are on the brink of poverty themselves.

“They’re talking about expanding community involvement, especially during elections and in between,” Bonin said. “It’s not that I don’t want to help people that are less fortunate. I’m all for that, but in order for us as a community here, right now, to help them, we need to help ourselves first.

“How can I help you if I’m barely getting by? I’m in survival mode. Doing all of that extra stuff is kind of out of the equation. I’m focusing on the $5 in my pocket, which is a real-life scenario. I’m on assistance right now.”

Gloria Laliberte attended the forum with her husband, who is the minister for Kildonan United Church.

“We’re looking for ways to support Point Douglas, the women and family centres, trying to figure out how the church can be more involved in the reduction or elimination of poverty,” Laliberte said.

She said from what she can tell, the City isn’t currently taking a big enough role in poverty reduction.

“It’s pretty sad from what I’m seeing,” she said. “From every standpoint.”

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