I envision a city where one’s basic needs are met, and then some….
By Holly DeSimone
I get asked a lot of questions about the work that I do.
What is poverty? What does poverty mean to you? How does poverty affect your life? How do people end up in poverty? How is poverty measured? What can I do to help someone living in poverty?
People and organizations can ask questions till the end of time about poverty…but people living in poverty cannot wait until the end of time.
Every day, we hear stories in the news about the economy and programs and services that may be cut because of the economic downturn or changes due to the political climate in our city.
Read this Calgary Herald article here.
People in poverty do not have the privilege of waiting for right timing in the political landscape, or to wait for the index of support programs to catch up due inflation. There needs to be more focus on providing adequate affordable housing, solutions to address childcare expenses, ways to eliminate food insecurity, and relaxing pharmaceutical care guidelines and medical plans to cover pre-exciting conditions. People living in poverty have basic needs that need to be met.
We can do better in providing dignity to those living low income and to reduce poverty. Read how poverty affects your health here.
People are suffering in communities across our city. So what questions do you want to be answered?
For myself, right now at this minute, I am concerned about:
- What it would take for support programs to index what they provide to be in-line with the cost of living.
- What it would take for the working poor to be paid more than minimum wage.
- Getting more people to join the conversation around creating a basic income pilot in our city. Why? Because we need to be discussing the issue of affordability versus thinking we live in an affordable city.
I envision a city where one’s basic needs are met, and then some…Not just for the homeless but for everyone in our city.
Yes, I know, I have asked myself where the money will come from to support these ideas. In my opinion, the answer is to change our tax system and eliminate the loopholes that benefit the one percent of billionaires…Why? Read about the billionaires of the world here.
It may be the only way to achieve equal access to supports, address the gender pay gap, and provide affordable childcare to parents. I wouldn’t mind paying more myself if my income was high enough to do so. We can’t make people wait or keep generations living in poverty, we need to act now!
Holly DeSimone is a social media coordinator at Vibrant Communities Calgary. She has first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to live in poverty in Calgary. Please feel free to leave a comment below.