How will Enough for All 2.0 change the lives of Calgarians?
By Holly DeSimone
Many years ago, when I was a single mom, my children and I lived in poverty. I worked two and sometimes three jobs, took care of my parents, when my father had open heart surgery and my mother’s health was failing, at the same time attending university. I didn’t have a support system. At that time, I felt like I was failing in every area of my life, it was difficult, embarrassing, stressful and caused me to have many days of strain and worry.
My income was never high enough to pay all the bills each month. I would have to choose between which bills to pay. We were never evicted because the rent was always the first bill paid, but the utilities were threatened to be cut off when my children were young, as a family, we had to deal with food insecurity, medical expenses, transportation expenses, legal bills from the divorce and lack of basic needs. We didn’t have money for social activities unless it was free.
To know that four major organizations like The City of Calgary, United Way of Calgary and Area, Momentum and Vibrant Communities Calgary have signed a renewal of agreement to reduce poverty is, in my opinion, an important step in addressing the root causes of poverty. The work will continue on poverty reduction in the city, and that work is going to continually make a difference for all Calgarians.
I was at the first signing of Enough for All, and met several people and non-profit organizations, along with our Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who were all working on poverty reduction in our city. I don’t think, I realized how important that day was, until this signing of Enough for All 2.0.
The refreshed strategy, its nine principles and ten leverages of change can be read in, Enough for All 2.0 will have a tremendous impact on Calgarians living on the brink of and in poverty.
By addressing the following ten leverages of change: adult financial and foundational learning, early learning and care, financial empowerment, food security, housing, income support, justice, physical and mental health and transportation; we will give many Calgarians a helping hand. It is a chance to change the cycle of poverty and their family. A chance for a better life, because of programs and financial education that was never talked about when I was a single parent back in the ‘80s.
These important efforts in public policy, including research combined with insight incorporated into the refreshed strategy and the effects of poverty will allow for Calgarians to have the ability to live in a strong, supportive and inclusive community, to enroll and learn about how to save money, to have sufficient income and assets to thrive for their families future, and for our Indigenous communities to be equal participants in Calgary’s future.
We have moved beyond trying to define and measure poverty and actually work on the root causes of poverty, to change policies that will impact children, individuals, and families, in ways we may have never seen before.
Poverty is a complicated issue, but addressing the ten leverages of change, it is working towards breaking the cycle of poverty for future generations.
Holly DeSimone is a strong supporter of inclusive communities and social justice. She is the Social Media Coordinator for Vibrant Communities Calgary. Please feel to comment below.