A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities

Southwest Alberta Coalition on Poverty 2010 Poverty Report Card

March 2010

A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card

Acknowledgements

South West Alberta Coalition on Poverty Report Card Project Team: Steve Pedersen Ronda Reach Stasha Donahue

Contact Information: Steve Pedersen Interim President, South West Alberta Coalition on Poverty Email: stpeders@gmail.com Web: http://www.apha.ab.ca/swacp

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2009) As part of our work in the region.ab. the Coalition has: • Built and strengthened a coalition of diverse community groups and individuals • Sponsored the first regional forum on poverty in October 2000 • Produced a regional report card on poverty in southern Alberta (1999) • Produced “Action for Our Future – A Community Action Kit for Champions of the Fight Against Child Poverty in our Communities” • Produced a video entitled “What Can Be Done” – a look at community strategies and actions to address child poverty and effects in southwest Alberta • Produced a second video entitled “Sustaining the Journey: Effective Poverty Reduction Strategies in Southwestern Alberta” • Sponsored the 2nd Regional Forum on Poverty (2004) • Sponsored three post-forum community pilot projects • Inclusive Communities Exploration Project (Lead Barb Cavers) • Co-sponsored the Reality Check 2005 Provincial Conference • Partnered with KAIROS to host a People's Forum for the International Covenant on Economic. Page 3 of 25 . 2006) • Sponsored the People's Event in conjunction with the Photovoice project (March 2007) • Sponsored the Rural Affordable Housing 2008 Conference • Coordinated the Building Socially Inclusive Communities in Southern Alberta project (Cardston & Fort Macleod. Social and Cultural Rights (2006 UN review of Canada) • Sponsored the Regional Social Inclusion Forum (Lethbridge .apha.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card About the SWACP The South West Alberta Coalition on Poverty (http://www. we are committed to providing current information on child poverty and related impacts in southwest Alberta. families and communities in southwest Alberta by: • Advocating for healthy public policy • Increasing awareness • Strengthening community capacities • Mobilizing community resources • Facilitating community action • Supporting creative solutions To date. and businesses working together to reduce poverty and its effects on children.May 2006) • Sponsored "Bridges Out of Poverty" workshop (Oct. groups.ca/swacp/) is a regional group of individuals. agencies.

......21 APPENDIX A .......................................................................................16 DISCUSSION......................6 THE NUMBERS...............................25 Page 4 of 25 ....................24 APPENDIX C – HUNGERCOUNT2009...................................5 WHAT IS POVERTY? .................................................................10 SECTION 1 – DISTRIBUTION OF POVERTY ...........23 APPENDIX B – SUMMARY OF 2009 REPORT CARD ON CHILD AND FAMILY POVERTY IN CANADA: 1989 – 2009 FROM CAMPAIGN 2000: ..................................................A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................6 MORE THAN NUMBERS CAN SAY ...............................................................................10 SECTION 2 – PREDICTORS OF POVERTY ............................................DON’T BLAME ME........................7 RECENT DATA AND TRENDS................................................................................................. A POEM BY GEOFFREY CANADA .....................................................................................................

For too many. awkward. their lives are meaningless..html?id=2317326 Page 5 of 25 . For those experiencing poverty in its various forms. therefore. we are working on the issue” . 1 http://www. perspectives.” (Perils of Indifference) This “meaninglessness” is experienced by many living in poverty. This Coalition believes in the need to “turn up the volume” on the poverty discourse in our communities. words both reflect and influence a culture’s values. to be involved in another person's pain and despair…for the person who is indifferent. However. 2009 National Post headline1. in an effort to both raise awareness of poverty and support a groundswell of strategies and actions to alleviate poverty and its effects. Borrowing from the words of Elie Wiesel: “It is so much easier to look away. and activities. poverty remains an abstract concept. announcing the release of a new Canadian Senate report on poverty. our hopes.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Introduction “End cycle of poverty.It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work. words are small comfort and even smaller help.nationalpost. And..“yes. The purpose of this report is to add meaning to our public and private discourse through the sharing of current data. troublesome. thought of perhaps only when it comes knocking at one’s door around Christmastime asking for a handout or when a headline catches one’s attention. How many reports on poverty have been published and to what effect? Some argue that words are useless – a phantom exercise lacking any real meaning designed more to soothe an occasional pang of consciousness about the need to do something . and is perhaps a more harmful experience of poverty than the limited financial means typically associated with being in poverty. It is.com/news/story. and trends in an effort to help ‘tip’ our society towards a more inclusive and meaningful shared existence characterized by less poverty in its various forms. after all.than to really make an impact. our dreams. priorities. his or her neighbor are of no consequence. Senate committee demands” reads the December 8.

Geoffrey Rose brought to our attention an analogous situation from the world of medicine – which offers insights into how we think about poverty. We have therefore thought it fitting to include their disclaimer in our own version of fine print. Given this. The Numbers In Canada. Pickering argued that health and disease are experienced in degrees. it counts a dichotomous existence – you either have it or you don’t4.”3 LICO’s are defined for five categories of community size and seven categories of family size. 2 Page 6 of 25 . who form a clearly definable minority…this approach rests on the traditional principle of diagnosis which assumes that the world falls into two classes.ca/bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?catno=75F0002MIE2006004&lang=eng 4 Dr.gc. Decisions on what defines poverty are subjective and ultimately arbitrary. One of the reasons a focus on numbers is incomplete is that poverty defined this way has only mastered the ability to count to two. few take the time to read the small print – and this important point is lost. determined by analysing family expenditure data. Paraphrasing from his writings “Concern for sick individuals has led to an attractively simple approach…we wish to reduce the number of sick individuals. The LICO is thus used to compare the situation of a family or household to an “average” experience for a family or household of that size in that area to determine if one is “below average” – defined as being of low income. The underlying difficulty is that poverty is a question of social consensus. in an effort to create an accurate reference point. namely those who have it and those who do not…This simple model…went virtually unquestioned until 1954 – when George Pickering advanced the revolutionary proposal that the idea of a sharp distinction between health and disease is a medical artifact for which nature.” Dr. Overall. This is an indicator Statistics Canada uses which defines “income thresholds.statcan. Statistics Canada has always referred to the low income cut-offs and low income measures as indicators of the extent to which some Canadians are less well-off than others based solely on income and as such. the low income rate for persons can then be calculated as the number of persons in low income divided by the total population. Statistics Canada does recognize that “defining poverty is far from straightforward. provides no support. Yet. below which families will devote a larger share of income to the necessities of food.” As with most disclaimers.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card What is Poverty? Poverty has long been associated with numbers. 3 http://www. shelter and clothing than the average family would. This report incorporates both a numerical and a non-numerical perspective on poverty and its effects. are low income and not poverty measures. if consulted. defined for a given point in time and in the context of a given country. a focus exclusively on numbers can rob of us further understanding. When checking one’s wallet or bank balance and seeing a ‘0’ reflected back – the lack of numbers speaks loudly. poverty is frequently reported using the Low Income Cut Off (LICO)2. never as absolutes.

e. The question should not be “do you have it?” but “how much of it do you have?” Rather than rely on an arbitrarily defined line. it is how those earnings compare to others in one’s society). More Than Numbers Can Say One idea that has grown from this understanding is the idea of relative income (i. in his 18th century classic Wealth of Nations. But many with riches are poor in other areas of their life. and not a reflection of the actual reality of things. Figure A: Poverty – The Dichotomous View Figure B: Poverty – The Continuum View One of the consequences of adopting the continuum as our understanding of poverty is that “then the artificial fences and divisions we erect in our lives and societies (i. rather than “whether” one is affected by it in its various forms.e. it may be riches.they exist only in our imaginations (and prejudices)” (Pedersen. The shape of poverty is therefore not a line of demarcation dividing persons into one of two groups (see Figure A) but an inclusive curve (see Figure B) wherein all can place themselves5. commented “By necessaries I understand not only the commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life. not in my backyard) are in essence built of material from the same factory which produced the emperor's clothes .. it is not what one earns that is most important. what is found in its place? What is the opposite of poverty? In pure financial terms. 2008). The idea of relative income is not new. beyond a threshold of deprivation. poverty can be thought of in terms of “how much” one is affected by it. Adam Smith.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card A common mistake is to forget that the use of dichotomous definitions (you have it or you don’t) represent an operational convenience necessary for determining when to act. 5 Page 7 of 25 . but whatever the custom of This raises the question of when poverty is diminished.

I suppose. neglect of public facilities as well as intolerance…Greater freedom enhances the ability of people to help themselves and also to influence the world. very comfortably though they had no linen. through the greater part of Europe. and efforts to address poverty as a form of development. Research into the causes of the gradient has identified them as “autonomy . if a population is divided into five income groupings. Custom. a creditable day-labourer would be ashamed to appear in public without a linen shirt. health status) changes uniformly by income across categories (i. Development requires the removal of major sources of unfreedom: poverty as well as tyranny.” Page 8 of 25 . 1776) Custom exerts a powerful influence on what is “acceptable” and therefore also what “deprivation” looks like. strictly speaking. not a necessary of life. to be without.” (Smith.e. and these matters are central to the process of development. the difference in health experienced by the fourth and fifth highest income groupings is related to the difference in income between the two groups. even though both groups have an income far above any statistical definition of poverty or low income. has rendered leather shoes a necessary of life in England. Another idea related to relative income and relative deprivation is the health or social gradient. The poorest creditable person of either sex would be ashamed to appear in public without them. quintiles) of a population. The gradient’s message is that how much income one has relates to one’s health in a more profound way than just through the presence or absence of poverty. Again. but because of what it represents. even of the lowest order. This leads us to the realization that income is important not because of what it is. The Greeks and Romans lived. poor economic opportunities as well as systematic social deprivation. in the same manner. A linen shirt. In the words of Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen “Development can be seen…as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy… of the removal of various types of unfreedoms that leave people with little choice and little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card the country renders it indecent for creditable people.e. For example. for example. it is presumed. But in the present times. the want of which would be supposed to denote that disgraceful degree of poverty which. The gradient simply put exists when an outcome (i. is. it is not a question of “yes/no” but “how much” in terms of income’s effect. nobody can well fall into without extreme bad conduct. Building on this idea is the representation of poverty as a lack of opportunity or freedom.how much control you have over your life – and the opportunities you have for full social engagement and participation”.

This understanding is reflected in the recently published New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan: OVERCOMING POVERTY TOGETHER. as poverty is so much more than just an income level. and opportunities associated with life's experiences (see Appendix A). include: • • • • Social exclusion Social inclusion Control of destiny Social participation As our collective and individual conversations about poverty increasingly reflect a broader understanding. Additional components.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Building on these understandings. responsibilities. These steps are necessary but not sufficient. the ultimate objective of efforts to address poverty therefore is not to end poverty by increasing incomes or wages. The vision for efforts to address poverty is captured nicely in the objective for “people to have the freedom to live lives they have reason to value”. of which an adequate income is an important component. which have been added to our vocabulary and conversations about poverty and its influence. This plan grouped its recommended actions into the categories: • • Opportunities for Being (meeting basic need) Opportunities for Becoming (life-long learning and skills acquisition) Opportunities for Belonging (community participation) 6 • Page 9 of 25 . This would result in a more inclusive society where the many forms and influences of poverty are less harshly experienced as society more readily shares the burdens. our actions eventually must follow6.

or of one person living alone.. temporary residents elsewhere) are considered as part of their usual household. Refers to a group of two or more persons who live in the same dwelling and are related to each other by blood. Household is inclusive of Economic Families.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Recent Data and Trends Statistics Canada’s most recent data is from the 2006 Census. Refers to a person or a group of persons (other than foreign residents) who occupy the same dwelling and do not have a usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada. this section presents updated numerical figures about the lived experience of poverty. all data in household reports are for private households only. Using this data. marriage. of two or more families sharing a dwelling. For census purposes. Section 1 – Distribution of Poverty The Canadian Census collects data for a number of indicators of poverty. common-law or adoption. foster children are included.g. including: • Incidence of low income (households)7 • Incidence of low income (economic families)8 • Government transfer payments as % of income • Unemployment rate • Aboriginal population • Movers in previous year • % of children < 6 years of age • % of lone parent families • Adults with no high school certificate Figure 1 shows how these indicators have changed in Southwest Alberta between the 2001 and 2006 Census. 8 7 Page 10 of 25 . It may consist of a family group (census family) with or without other persons. every person is a member of one and only one household. and – where possible – compare these figures to the 2001 Census to identify trends over time. For 2006. of a group of unrelated persons. A couple may be of opposite or same sex. Household members who are temporarily absent on Census Day (e. Unless otherwise specified.

10 5 0 Movers in previous year % of children* < 6 years Incidence of low income (Households) Aboriginal population Incidence of low income (Economic Families) Unemployment rate Government transfer payments % While many indicators appear relatively stable. fewer people are receiving government assistance.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Figure 1: Indicators of Poverty in Southwest Alberta 2001 in Comparison to Southwest Alberta 2006 Indicators of Poverty Chinook 2001 Chinook 2006 % of Lone-parent Families 30 % of Rented Homes 25 20 15 Adults* with no High School Cert. how does the region compare to the province as a whole? Figure 2 compares the same indicators region vs. It appears that the economic boom in Alberta’s 2005-2006 period had some impact on indicators of poverty. With an understanding of how southwest Alberta compares to itself five years earlier. Page 11 of 25 . Or in other words. and percentage of rented homes (a decrease since the 2001 Census). fewer people are not completing high school. “adults with no high school certificate” (a decrease since the 2001 Census). there appears to have been significant change for the indicators “government transfer payments as a % of income” (a decrease since 2001 Census). and fewer people are renting their home. province.

Page 12 of 25 . It also appears that the increasing gaps in education between the region and both the province and where the region was five years ago suggests that this important indicator deserves attention.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Figure 2: Indicators of Poverty in Southwest Alberta in Comparison to Alberta Indicators of Poverty (2006) Chinook Alberta % of Lone Parent Families 30 % of Rented Homes 25 20 15 Adults* with no High School Cert. 10 5 0 Movers in previous year % of children < 6 years Persons <18 yrs in low income-after tax Aboriginal population Persons in low income after tax (All) Unemployment rate Receiving Government transfer payments When southwest Alberta is compared to the province at-large. the number of people receiving government transfer payments in southwest Alberta is still higher than the provincial average. It appears that the reduction in persons receiving government assistance is a larger trend affecting the entire province. We also see that even with the decrease from 2006 to 2001 in “receiving government transfer payments”. we see that the proportion of “adults (25 – 34 yrs of age) with no high school certificate” is also higher than the provincial average.

particularly female lone-parent families. Lone-parent families.County Lethbridge Stirling Raymond Warner Milk River Coutts Warner County 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000 70000 80000 Female lone-parent families Lone-parent families Common-law-couple families Married-couple families Page 13 of 25 . Figure 3: Alberta Families' 'Take-Home' Income By Family Type Median Family 'Take-Home' Income by Family Type Alberta Chinook Crowsnest Pass Blood Nation Piikani Nation Granum Fort Macleod Willow Creek MD Pincher Creek MD of Pincher Creek Glenwood Cardston Magrath Cardston County Vauxhall Barnwell Taber MD of Taber Coaldale Picture Butte Barons Nobleford Coalhurst Leth.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Figure 3 shows take-home income by family type. experience a significantly lower annual take-home income than married or common-law couples.

Incidence of Persons in Low Income (after tax . The poverty coalition has been working on this strategic direction for the past number of years with our arts-based projects and more recently.County Lethbridge Stirling Raymond Milk River Coutts Warner County 0 5 10 15 % 20 25 30 Children (< 18 yrs. of age) Females Males All Persons Page 14 of 25 .2005) Alberta Chinook Crowsnest Pass Granum Fort Macleod Willow Creek MD Pincher Creek MD of Pincher Creek Cardston Magrath Cardston County Vauxhall Barnwell Taber MD of Taber Coaldale Picture Butte Nobleford Coalhurst Leth. the social inclusion projects.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Figure 4: Proportion of Persons in Low Income (After-Tax) Figure 4 reinforces the importance of engaging youth in society.

Not A Handout”9 “past and current approaches to improving the economic and social wellbeing of Aboriginal people have not met with great success.htm Wa r n er Page 15 of 25 .parl. Median Income (after-tax) for All Census Families 70000 60000 50000 $ dollars 40000 30000 20000 10000 0 nt y C ou tts M ilk Rive r Wa rn e r Ray m on d S ti r lin g Let h b ri d ge Let h . Co u n ty C oa l hur st N ob l e fo rd Bar ons P ic t u re B ut te C oa lda le MD of T abe r Ta b er Bar nw e ll Vau xh a C ar ll d s to nC ou n ty M ag ra th Car d s to n G le MD nw o of P od in ch er C re e k P in c her Cre W ill ek ow C re ek M D F o rt M ac l eod G ra nu m P iik a ni Na t io n Bl oo dN a tio Cro n w sn est Pas s C hi noo k Al be r ta Cou 9 As summarized in the Canadian Senate’s 2007 Standing Committee on Aboriginal People’s Report “Sharing Canada’s Prosperity – A Hand Up.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Figure 5: Median Family Income by Community Figure 5 demonstrates the economic disparities between First Nation and nonFirst Nations communities. misguided. The almost exclusive emphasis on social programs and spending by the federal government is. Increasingly.gc. Aboriginal people view economic development as fundamental to reshaping their social outcomes and are asking that this area be afforded much greater priority” http://www.ca/39/1/parlbus/commbus/senate/com-e/abor-e/rep-e/repmar06pdf-e. for many.

We can see that in comparison to the 2001 census. Single parenthood is a demanding state of life.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Section 2 – Predictors of Poverty Figure 6: Proportion of Lone-Parent Families As someone once said. low-income. 2006) 45 40 2001 2006 35 30 percent 25 20 15 10 5 0 ou n C ty M ou ilk tts R W iver ar R n ay e m r o Le St n d th Le ir br th lin id b g ge rid C ge C oun oa t y N lhu ob rs le t f Pi B ord ct ar ur on e B s C ut o a te Ta ld be ale rM Ta D Ba b e C ar V rnw r ds a e to ux ll n h C all o M unt ag y C ra a th G rds le to Pi nw n nc he H i oo lls d r Pi Cre prin nc e g he k M rC D W illo re w C o ek C w Fo ree ley rt k M MD ac G leo Pi ran d ik u a C B ni m r o l o 14 C w o 7 H s d IN ne 1 O st 48 O P K a TO ss TA L W ar ne rC Page 16 of 25 . the proportion of lone-parent families – with some exceptions – is increasing. characterized by experiences of stress. single parents are required to do twice the work with half the resources. Proportion of Lone-parent Families (2001. and social exclusion.

0 0. 6 6M D CHR TOT AL Albe rta r Co Wa r ne Page 17 of 25 .0 unty Cou tts Milk Rive r Wa rner Ray mon d Stir ling Leth Leth brid ge brid ge C oun ty Coa lhur st Nob lefo rd Bar ons Pict ure B ut te Coa ldal e Ta b er M D Ta b er Bar nwe ll Vau Car xha dsto ll nC oun ty Mag rath Car dsto n Gle nwo od Hills prin Wa g terto Pinc nP ark her Cre ek M Pin D che r Cr eek Cow Willo ley wC reek MD Fo r t Ma cleo d Gra num Piik ani 147 Blo od 1 Cro 48 wsn Ran es t chla Pas nd N s o.May 2006 30.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 rate of unemployment 20.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Figure 7: Unemployment by Community Employment is key to individual and community well-being and viability.0 25. Unemployment Rate . There are wide variations in unemployment in southwest Alberta. with a number of communities with higher unemployment than the provincial average.

Government Transfer Payments . 2005 35 30 25 percent 20 15 10 5 0 ou nt y o M utt ilk s R iv W er ar R ne ay r m on St d irl Le i th ng Le brid th g .A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Figure 8: Government Transfer Payments by Community The percentage of government transfer payments related to total income is related to employment and household earnings.% of total income. there are still a number of communities in southwest Alberta with high levels of transfer payments. Despite this reduction. Figure 1 and Figure 2 demonstrated a reduction in government transfer payments in the region and the province.C e o C unt oa y lh N urs ob t le fo r Ba d Pi r ct ur ons e Bu C tte o M ald D of ale Ta be r Ta be Ba r rn w C ar Va ell ds u to xh n a C ll ou nt M y ag C rath ar M d D G st o of Pi len n nc w oo h Pi er C d nc re W h illo er ek w Cr ee C r k Fo eek rt M M D ac le Pe G od ig ra an n u Bl Re m oo se C d R rve ro w ese sn es rve tP a C ss hi no o Al k be rta C W ar ne rC Page 18 of 25 .

0 percent 40.0 0.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Figure 9: Percentage of Population with no High School Certificate Education is a key contributor to health and prosperity by equipping people with knowledge and skills for problem solving.0 50.0 20.0 70.0 ou a y n ty m on St d Le th Le irlin b r th id br g ge id C ge o C un oa ty l N hur ob st le fo Pi Ba r d ct ur ron s e B C u tte oa Ta lda be le rM D Ta Ba b e rn r C ar V we ds au ll to x h n C all ou M n ty ag C rat ar h Pi nc G dst he len on rC w o Pi r e o d nc ek W illo he MD w rC C re r Fo ee ek rt k M M ac D le G od Pi ran ik um an C Bl i 14 r o oo 7 w s d C ne 14 H IN st P 8 O as O K s to Al tal be r ta R W ar ne r C Page 19 of 25 .34 yrs.0 10. Adults (25 .0 60. and increasing opportunities for job and income security.0 30.) with No High School Certificate 80. A high percentage of persons with no high school certificate is an alarming portend for the future. providing a sense of control and mastery over life circumstances.

Children in families who move often are often at-risk for a lack of success in school and healthy development. This can be an indicator of challenges in finding affordable housing or socially inclusive neighborhoods.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Figure 10: Proportion of the Population Having Moved in the Previous Year Frequent relocations can be caused by or contribute to poverty. Movers in Previous Year 30 25 20 percent 15 10 5 0 Cou nty Cou tts Milk Riv er Wa rne r Ray mon d Stir ling Leth Leth brid ge brid ge C oun ty Coa lhur st Nob lefo rd Bar ons Pict u re But te Coa ldale Tab er M D Tab er Bar nwe ll Vau Car xha dsto ll nC oun ty Mag rath Car dsto n Gle nwo od Hills prin Wa g tert on P Pin che ark r Cr eek MD Pin che r Cr eek Cow Will ley ow Cre ek M D For t Ma cleo d Gra num Piik ani 147 Blo od 1 C ro 48 wsn Ran est chla Pas nd N s o. 6 6M D CHR TOT AL Alb erta Wa rner Page 20 of 25 .

and has been defined as “the sum of perceived capabilities. related to control of destiny and social participation. inclusive communities. and growth – a process that both creates hope as pathways are followed and also is driven by hope for the attainment of an improved future state. Victor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning writes of a “provisional existence” (Frankl. One way to build supportive and inclusive communities is to adopt a perspective of hope. a diminished capacity to be and to do. An illustrative example of the potential benefits from focusing on these concepts is found in the story of the community of Roseto. This definition speaks to a process of empowerment. 1984). As observed by the researchers “When financial problems arose. specifically close and mutually supportive relationships among family and extending to neighbors and to the community as a whole. Pennsylvania. The past few years. inclusive communities in southwest Alberta. the community itself assumed responsibility for helping the family. The opposite of hope is fear or despair. defined as uncertain Page 21 of 25 . to produce routes to desired goals. within an environment which allows their expression. The message of this report is that the common understanding of poverty as a dollar figure needs to be replaced with an understanding of poverty as a lack of freedom. relatives and friends rallied to the aid of the family. Epidemiological research identified the culture of the community. To the extent we are able to nurture supportive. Hope has been identified as a fundamental root cause of well-being. along with the perceived motivation to use those routes”. extreme financial loss. and in instances of abrupt.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Discussion Poverty is persistent and has a powerful influence on the lives of those it touches. Roseto was an Italian community which gained notoriety in the 1960s for its extremely low rate of heart attacks despite the presence of all of the conventional risk factors for heart disease. mutual support.” The power of community buffered Roseto’s residents against stress and disconnected the conventional pathways leading from our prevalent modern lifestyle to the modern killer heart disease. The coalition is also (as of the time of this writing) investigating the feasibility of a microcredit program as a means of offering financial and other supports to those in need in the community. vision. This healthy community also understood financial challenges. leadership. the poverty coalition has been working on the issue of social inclusion in an effort to build more supportive. we may be able to experience the same. as significantly contributing to the healthy state of the community.

e. and supportive southwest Alberta .A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card (i. unpredictable or controlled by others) and unlimited (i.a southwest Alberta connected not by technology but by the common thread of humanity.e. We welcome you to join the Coalition as we work to build a healthier. Page 22 of 25 . more inclusive. of no set duration). Unemployment and poverty can fall within this definition.

her 1. but it’s after three. I know she don’t know her ABCs. And judgment is rendered on who passed the buck. “Your daddy left when you were two. son. I took full responsibility. Have you lost your mind?” The young man opened his mouth to beg. can’t spell at all. don’t ask. Can’t read. You’re going to jail.2. Your school prepared you for this fall. He reads like he was six years old. Blame the mom. can’t write.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Appendix A . Just don’t blame me. He’s ten. Who blamed the victim or proudly stood up. Don’t blame me.” And I will bear witness for eternity That you can state proudly. “Don’t blame me. were short or tall.org/images/stories/pdfs/dont_blame_me.” By Geoffrey Canada. But I am poor and work hard you see. I did my best to save them all. Wish I could do more.” You know the story. “While I couldn’t save all. “Don’t blame me. But you did the crime for all to see. it’s don’t blame me. his expression cold. Were cursed. ignored. No excuses. By the thousands I helped all I could see. Her father left when she was three. CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone February 2007 http://www. for the kind and the mean. blame society.” If there is a God or a person supreme.hcz. but if the truth be told.” he heard instead. Your momma didn’t take care of you. The teacher shook her head and said. Break the law again and you’ll do time. “Save your breath. pre-judged. No matter if they were black or white. You’ve robbed with a gun. I did not let these children fall. I know it’s sad. “Don’t blame me.” The judge was angry. blame the system. A final reckoning. And math.Don’t Blame Me. It’s sad you see. You’ll say to the world.pdf Page 23 of 25 . “Son you’ve been told. a poem by Geoffrey Canada The girl’s mother said. Were shunned. were wrong or right.3s. He scowled and said.

and modest-income families do not have access to affordable housing or high quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services Rising costs of post-secondary education are a formidable barrier to lowincome students.A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Appendix B – Summary of 2009 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada: 1989 – 2009 from Campaign 2000: http://www.pdf • About 1 in 10 children in Canada (637. What’s Needed? • Minimum wages need to be increased to at least $11/hour with indexation by 2011 while increases to worker tax credits.500.campaign2000.000 children) and their families live in poverty (2007 LICO after tax).ca/reportCards/national/2009EnglishC2000NationalRe portCard. are put into place at the same time. but strong economic growth has helped to move poverty rates down slowly in several provinces. Atlantic and Ontario premiers called on the Federal Government to develop a national poverty reduction strategy to work in concert with provincial efforts to prevent and reduce poverty in 2008. that’s as large as the population of Winnipeg but does not show the shameful situation of First Nations communities where 1 in every 4 children is growing up in poverty Paid work does not assure a pathway out of poverty. • The depth of poverty – the amount of money the average low-income family would need to reach the poverty line – remained high. • Seven out of ten provinces have (or will have) a poverty reduction strategy. in 2007. British Columbia. of Aboriginal identity. more than 4 in every 10 low-income children have a parent who works full-time throughout the year Children of recent immigrants. the average depth for two-parent and female-led lone parent families was in the range of $9. in racialized families and those with a disability remain much more vulnerable to poverty Most low. like the Working Income Tax Benefit. • • • • What’s Happened since 1989? • Prosperity has not solved persistent poverty. A worker tax credit of $200 per month would benefit parents who are unable to find or to take on full-time work year-round. • Restore eligibility requirements to 360 hours with benefit levels based on the best 12 weeks of earnings for all regions of Canada. Page 24 of 25 . Alberta and Saskatchewan remained uncommitted.

Nova Scotia (20% increase) and Ontario (19% increase) have been hit the hardest. As in past years. Overall. children made up a significant percentage (37. Saskatchewan (44%).ca/documents/HungerCount2009NOV16.pdf The need for food banks has grown across the country.or unemployed. and those struggling on fixed incomes have been joined by those who.” those who are under. believing they had a stable income. the percentage of employed people utilizing food banks is twice the national average.” Page 25 of 25 . only to see all or part of that income disappear. In Alberta. 293. Alberta (61% increase).A Basis for Action for Socially Inclusive Communities SWACP 2010 Report Card Appendix C – HungerCOUNT2009 http://foodbankscanada. stretched their expenses. Reflecting the difficulties associated with the economic downturn. and Alberta (43%).677 children were assisted by a food bank in March of this year. Quoting from the report: “What is new this year is that the “working poor. Children were particularly highly represented in Manitoba (49%).2%) of those assisted by food banks.

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