More than 13,500 children live in low-income households writes Sarah Sabihuddin.

Imagine having to choose between buying diapers and food or paying the rent and hydro bill.

In Halton, there are more than 13,500 children living in low income households, representing 10.5 per cent of all children in our community. That is one in 10 kids living in poverty right here in our neighbourhoods.

This is why organizations like the Halton Poverty Roundtable (HPRT) are so important. Our members are regional change-makers who are challenging the complexity of poverty in our community. We work to shed light on all aspects of poverty and highlight the reality of poverty in our neighbourhoods. Through connecting, educating and acting together, we aim to reach the ultimate goal of eliminating poverty in Halton.

Over the course of the past eight years, the HPRT has been involved in raising public awareness on issues ranging from social assistance reform, to increasing awareness on available housing supports, to the successful inclusion of community benefits in publicly-funded infrastructure projects directly impacting low-income residents.

Poverty looks different in every community, and Halton is no exception.

Poverty is a complicated topic to define, but even harder to solve. Halton residents living in poverty often have unstable employment, insecure and unaffordable housing, are food insecure, face chronic health issues, experience financial barriers to post-secondary education, and face social exclusion due to the gap that exists between the highest and lowest income earners in our community. A family of four with two adults working full time must earn a minimum of $17.95 an hour to pay for the basic necessities of life so they can live with dignity and participate as active citizens in our society. Many in our community have to decide between paying their rent, buying fresh food for their children, and paying for necessary medication.

Halton Poverty Roundtable believes that everyone in our community should be adequately housed, with enough income to meet the most basic standard of living, allowing everyone to eat properly, live with less stress and engage with community supports.

If you, or someone you know, want to become more involved in achieving our vision of ‘No Neighbour in Need’ please check out our website at www.haltonpovertyroundtable.com or on twitter@HaltonPovertyRT.

Sarah Sabihuddin is the Halton Poverty Roundtable director of community engagement.

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