Photo: Getty Images | Design: Genevieve Pizzale
From Canada-wide initiatives to harnessing the power of small communities, these organizations are hoping to put poverty behind.
The federal government introduced Opportunity for All — Canada’s First Ever Poverty Reduction Strategy earlier this year, which is a program that hopes to reduce poverty by 20 per cent by 2020 and 50 per cent by 2030. While this national plan will help lift more Canadians out of poverty, non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also been addressing the issue of poverty with the hopes of eradicating it. From the power of education, to the importance of helping veterans, here are a few that are doing good work to help those in need.
PATHWAYS TO EDUCATION
Founded in 2001 and partnered with the Government of Canada, Pathways to Education seeks to end the cycle of poverty through the power of education. Its award-winning program, the Pathways to Education Program, provides a comprehensive set of academic, financial and social one-on-one support to youth in need. As a result, graduation rates have improved by an average of 85% in communities where the Pathways program was offered. Locations for the program can be found in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
For more info, visit pathwaystoeducation.ca.
THE CANADIAN LEGACY PROJECT
The Canadian Legacy Project was created to address and support Canadian veterans living in poverty through program initiatives and events aimed at improving their everyday lives. One of its initiatives, Homes for Heroes, was created to help veterans living in poverty who have difficulty transitioning into civilian life by providing affordable tiny homes, support services designed to meet individual needs and to help facilitate a sense of belonging for Canadian military veterans. The first community is set to open in the Forest Lawn neighbourhood of Calgary in April 2019 with additional plans to open another community in Edmonton.
“Unfortunately Canada has more than 2,500 veterans experiencing homelessness and very little is being done to fix this issue. Our tiny home communities will be built across Canada to support our Canadian heroes.”
– Dave Howard, Founder, The Canadian Legacy Project
For more info, visit canadianlegacy.org or homesforheroesfoundation.ca.
TRUE NORTH AID
True North Aid is dedicated to closing the poverty gap that Northern Indigenous communities in Canada face by launching projects based off of eight key beliefs: self-determination, reconciliation, water, food, health, housing, hope and education. Through these key beliefs, True North Aid has been able to provide necessary home improvements, purification systems to communities struggling with access to clean water, initiatives to support healthcare needs and so much more.
“With more than 60 per cent of Indigenous children living below the poverty line, there is much work to be done. The issues facing Indigenous communities in Canada are complex and are the result of many things that have transpired over the past 150 years. True North Aid believes that self-governance and self-determination is key to closing the poverty gap.”
– Kenneth Smid, National Director, True North Aid
For more info, visit truenorthaid.ca.
END POVERTY EDMONTON
Supported by the City of Edmonton, United Way Alberta Capital Region and the Edmonton Community Foundation, this new community-based initiative started in 2017 and aims to eradicate poverty through the ideas and input of Edmonton residents, including the Indigenous community and people who have lived in and broken out of the cycle of poverty. With a beginning goal to get 10,000 Edmontonians out of poverty by 2021, 35 actions grouped under five goals have been developed to ensure that vision is met over the next five years.
“At EndPovertyEdmonton, 2018 has been a foundational year. Our goal requires input and action from everyone—government, not-for-profits, business, and everyday people. To do that, we’re bringing together Edmontonians from all walks of life to work on systems and policy changes. We’re learning from people with the lived experience of poverty and from each other to make sure we’re on the right track. We’re all working together to become a community where poverty doesn’t exist.”
– Andrea Burkhart, Executive Director, EndPovertyEdmonton
To learn more about the strategy, visit endpovertyedmonton.com.
WINNIPEG POVERTY REDUCTION COUNCIL
The Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council (WPRC) is an initiative from United Way Winnipeg and is aimed at bringing together leaders from different sectors to work in collaboration to address the root causes of poverty and ultimately eradicate it in Winnipeg. With a dedicated framework in place, the WPRC managed to launch projects like End Homelessness in Winnipeg, which was established in 2015 to implement a 10-year plan to end homelessness and the Winnipeg Boldness Project, an initiative aimed at improving the lives of young children in the Point Douglas district of the city.
“Fundamental to WPRC’s work is the belief that no one sector can successfully address the complex issues of poverty alone. Winnipeg is rich in dedicated people and programs. A greater impact is possible when we connect, align and explore innovative approaches collectively.”
– Pam Sveinson, Executive Director, Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council
For more info, visit wprc.ca.
YUKON ANTI-POVERTY COALITION
Formed in 1996, the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition has been committed to the elimination of poverty in the Yukon by bringing the community together and building partnerships with people, government, and the private and non-profit sectors through awareness, advocacy and action. Over the years, initiatives such as Sally & Sisters/Soeurs which offers a safe lunch program for women and children in need and the Housing Task Force which addresses housing-related issues have helped immeasurably.
For more info, visit yapc.ca.
CANADA WITHOUT POVERTY
Since 1971, Canada Without Poverty has been governed by people who have lived through and broken out of poverty and the group has actively been working towards eradicating poverty across the country. Through educating Canadians about the human and financial cost of living in poverty, and by identifying public policy solutions, the organization has been able to establish Dignity for All, an action plan developed with coast-to-coast consultation. The plan offers human rights education workshops and has brought many matters of poverty and human rights violations into the legal justice system.
A member of the United Way Greater Toronto chapter, Nellie’s is a community-based feminist organization with an anti-racism and anti-oppression framework dedicated to helping women and children who have or are currently going through situations of violence, poverty and homelessness. With programs and resources dedicated to housing, outreach, children and youth, peer support and so much more, they’ve been able to help many women and children in Toronto and the GTA reestablish their lives.
To learn more, visit nellies.org.