It’s a serious issue for many living in our community.
It’s so serious that Hastings and Prince Edward Counties have some of the highest poverty rates in Ontario.
According to 2011 census data, five local communities reported poverty above 20% and recent 2014 data shows a food insecurity rate of 11.4% – three percentage points higher than the provincial average. In education, a predictor of future poverty, local four-year graduation rates were 64% versus 76% provincially.
Poverty Roundtable Director Christine Durant said what is most concerning is that 26% of children – that’s 1 in 4 – live in poverty in our area.
She explained they are hoping to keep the lines of communication on the issue going and continue to develop effective strategies even after their quarterly workshop coming up on September 28.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reported the total benefit income for those who depend on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) locks nearly 895,000 Ontarians into deep poverty. It found that the poverty gap (between total benefit income and the poverty line) for a single person on Ontario Works has nearly tripled, from 20% in 1993 to 59% in 2014.
In July, Hastings Quinte Social Service reported just under 4% of the area population is receiving the assistance.
Durant said the issue surrounding poverty isn’t black and white – it’s very complex.
The roundtable is a collaboration of more than 200 individuals, businesses and organizations committed to seeing what they can do, or do differently to respond to poverty within the community. Durant said they really want to hear from anyone who has lived-experience with poverty.
The event at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre runs from 2 to 4 p.m. and is open to the public.
If you can’t make the event but still want to submit your concerns or suggestions email firstname.lastname@example.org