“We have guts to come here. Everyone wants to be invisible when you’re poor.”
This was one of the statements at the beginning of the June 25th workshop of 55 people with lived experience of poverty. This was the 6th workshop organized by Campaign 2000 & ISAC. The large group which packed the hall of the Indian Friendship Centre in the Soo included seniors, new mums with young children, Aboriginal People, people with disabilities, students and single men.
They talked about what causes poverty in their lives: the years it can take to get on ODSP; low social assistance rates; high rents, slum landlords and the high costs of maintaining a house; addictions; inability to get affordable child care; shiftwork and low paying jobs; the high cost of education and student loans.
And they talked about what is needed to end poverty: increased social assistance rates so that people have adequate incomes and access to the supports they need; investment in affordable housing and child care; respect and dignity for people struggling to make ends meet. This was a high energy meeting – people talked about the urgent need for action on poverty now. As a result they agreed to develop a grassroots advocacy group of low income people in the Soo to speak out on these issues. So by the end of this 4 hour meeting the tone had changed:
“We have the capacity to create sustainable communities. We all need to stand together and not be anonymous”.
Contact Jill Hewgill at the Algoma Community Legal Clinic to get involved.
“We have the capacity to create sustainable communities. We all need to stand together and not be anonymous.”