The conversation surrounding the reduction of poverty in the Quinte community has moved into its next phase.
The Poverty Roundtable Hastings Prince Edward introduced the Moving Forward Report: Recommendations for Community Action in a media conference Tuesday morning, in conjunction with the Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre. The report is a call for action for citizens in the region to help people who live in poverty or on low incomes overcome financial barriers and stigma, as well as assisting those in poverty in gaining better access to health care services. These issues affect Indigenous, , gay and lesbian Francophone communities in particular.
The first phase report, Leaning In: Community Conversations on Poverty in Hastings Prince Edward was released back in March, with the Roundtable’s vision being “a community where everyone experiences a standard of living which is sufficient for their physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being without compromise of dignity and self-respect.”
According to Poverty Roundtable HPE Director Christine Durant, the percentage of people living in low-income has increased across Hastings and Prince Edward counties in the past decade. The report indicates 16.3% of households in Hastings County are low-income, and 13.5% in Prince Edward.
Durant says the development process of the report took two years with help from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, starting in 2016 and involved participation of over 500 people.
For Durant, food insecurity is also an important issue in the Quinte region that needs to be addressed.
The report includes recommendations to implement affordable housing options, creating a universal income and providing better mental health education, among many others.
The Poverty Roundtable HPE consists of Durant, Brandi Hodge, Director of Community Engagement at United Way HPE, Christanne Lewis, Director of Programs and Services at the Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre, lawyer for the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre Deirdre McDade, member of the Poverty Roundtable Steering Committee and VP of CanGrands Kinship Support Group Tami Downes and Ruth Ingersoll, Executive Director of CDC Quinte.
The Poverty Roundtable will be taking their platform to the Bay of Quinte All Candidates Meeting Thursday, May 31 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m at Eastminster United Church. It will provide an opportunity for the public to learn how candidates and their parties plan to address poverty in the Quinte region.
For more information, visit povertyroundtablehpe.ca.