Aug 31

Poverty Lives Here: What’s Working and What’s Not. Why and How to Leverage it for Greater Impact?


The number of Canadians living in poverty — or precariously close to it — has grown dramatically since 2008. Surprising to some, this disturbing trend is echoed across all four Halton municipalities. The most recent economic downturn, the weakness of the Canadian dollar, combined with job growth that is primarily in part-time employment, is pushing more families to the financial and emotional brink — in our community no less than any other.

While the need for affordable housing, the use of food banks, the demand for mental and physical health services are all on the rise, the full dimension of local need is hard to assess. Many of those who could benefit from the available community resources remain inconspicuous, however, making the full dimensions of the need difficult to assess.

Over the past few decades and with the benefit of financial investments by governments and private and community foundations — and thanks to the tireless effort of staff and volunteers in the not-for-profit sector — a plethora of services has evolved to provide for the those least able to provide for themselves.

There are numerous vital organizations providing critical supports across the Region. Each one needs to be celebrated, showcased and learned from. At the same time, providing substantive poverty reduction solutions across the varying spectrum at which poverty manifests itself is beyond the geographic and mission boundaries of any one organization. Meaningful change on behalf of individuals and families requires not only collaboration across service providers, but a capacity for reviewing and renewing strategic, organizational and delivery models in real time to keep pace with rapidly evolving market circumstances.


With our September Forum, the Halton Poverty Roundtable is launching the first in a series of five forums over the coming year, with two objectives in mind:

1. To mine the lessons from those organizations creating a meaningful impact on reducing poverty and see how those findings can be replicated; and

2. To begin exploring how and where service (and possibly organizational). integration can result in higher quality, seamless, measurable outcomes on behalf of those living in poverty