[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This week of Hunger Action Month is dedicated to ADVOCACY. This is our chance to not only help the community with their current needs, but to let it be known that we demand to see change so our community will no longer need us in the first place.
Hunger is a symptom of poverty. We, and food banks across Canada, exist not because there is a lack of food in our city or country, but because many people don’t have access to adequate income to afford the basic necessities – food included.
Systemic, policy, and societal changes are not only necessary to ending hunger, but also alleviating poverty. These changes require cooperation and collaboration from all levels government.
So now what?
Say it with us: “Poverty Reduction Strategy”!
The Ottawa Food Bank firmly believes to truly eradicate poverty and reliance on food banks, all levels of government need to work together with collaboration from organizations such as the Ottawa Food Bank. Every level of government must make commitments to more affordable housing, attracting secure employment, and appropriate social assistance rates.
A positive step forward is the fact that both the federal government and the City of Ottawa have made commitments to improve affordable housing over the next 10 years. For most people who turn to food banks, the biggest problem is access to affordable housing. Across Ontario, the problem is compounded: fewer rental units being built and skyrocketing rent. Currently in Ottawa we see a wait time of approximately five years to get into an affordable housing unit. This is unacceptable.
Skilled and mid-level job opportunities need to be created in Ottawa and across the country. We see more and more young people in temporary, part-time, and contract work which risks a future of job instability and low wages.
A large number of adults who visit a food program state that social assistance as their main source of income. This indicates that these supports do not provide enough income to afford all of the recipient’s most basic needs.
Appropriate housing, income, employment, and assistance are essential to reducing poverty. To see any change in poverty and food insecurity, we need to see change in these four areas. We want to see a Poverty Reduction Strategy, and we would be happy to sit at the table to help this come to fruition.
Contact your local elected officials and tell them that a Poverty Reduction Strategy is important to you!