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Apr 06

“The Economic Cost of Poverty”

 

Marc HamelHalton Poverty Reduction Forum

April 4, 2013

Opening Remarks by Marc Hamel, Co-Chair of the Halton Poverty Roundtable

Three years ago I thought that poverty was not an issue in Halton. However, I spent a day with 15 members of our community as they shared their challenges of living with low income in Halton. Our community. They spoke to me and my fellow panel members about how tough it was to survive each and every day, and they spoke to us, as well, of the ways that they found to give back to the community, to volunteer and to help others. They said that this provided them with some sense of place, a sense of control and a sense of self worth. I learned that, yes, poverty means being hungry; and, yes, it means struggling to find a place to live; but more than that I finally began to understand that poverty really means an absence of choice and opportunity. It means being unable to participate effectively in or contribute to our community. I also started to understand that because poverty is a systemic issue it will persist regardless of any single individuals’ behaviour, their attitudes and their choices – unless, together, we make systemic changes to how we live together.
No one chooses to live in a state of deprivation – no one chooses to live in poverty.

Marc Hamel Opening Remarks