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Tackling the Poverty Crisis in Our Communities

By Nabiha Naweed

Contributing Author


Issues like poverty and homelessness have constantly stayed prominent in our society and elicited various kinds of responses from the community. Just in July of 2021, police were being criticized for using force in the removal of people from a homeless encampment at Lamport Stadium, even while people were peacefully protesting against it. Not to mention how financial security has become an even greater concern because of the COVID-19 pandemic.



Yvonne Chiu, co-executive director of Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative stated, “Families fell into very deep poverty because our grocery run jumped from 100 to 500 very quickly and so families, after paying rent, didn’t have money for food.” To add on further, the South Sudanese community in Alberta who had suffered losses due to COVID-19 deaths also faced a financial struggle as a result. It was said that many of the community members could not maintain enough income to pay rent and had lost their apartments (Aziz, 2021).


Over 8000 people experienced homelessness in Toronto during June according to statistics, and with the situation of the forced removal of the homeless encampment, injustice was also done to a good number of people. Kris Clemens who is the manager of communications for End Homelessness Winnipeg commented, “It’s very sad and distressing to see that kind of action taken against people who are already experiencing a lot of harm and violence in their life due to not being able to claim their basic human right to housing.” She also expressed that if people were able to be provided with the housing and aid needed, these kinds of crises would not be occurring (Stranger, 2021). On the other hand, Mayor Tory defended the police’s actions and stated that he didn’t support protestors preventing staff from “offering safe indoor housing to residents in encampments” despite the violent methods (Bingley, 2021).


As much as we want to believe that Canada is a diverse and developed country that is secure and pleasant for people to live in regardless of differences, there are still many minorities who face uncomfortable circumstances. We must recognize these problems instead of brushing over them in order to truly match our reputation.

Taking a stand for challenges faced by those who are not as privileged in society and participating in social justice is not as complicated as it may seem! Although there are methods that require more effort such as contacting your government, simple things like going to protests and educating others, and even signing a petition or sharing a simple social media post helps spread awareness about ongoing issues. You may be able to reach others who are willing to help do more as well. To speak from my own experience, I was surprised when I shared a post about an issue on social media and multiple others followed despite me not telling them to myself. Supporting not-for-profit organizations such as food banks is a significant way to help too!


Ultimately it’s up to you as a person to decide how you feel about problems in or outside of your community and how much action you’re willing to take. If you’re fueled with the passion to provide aid to others facing difficulties, try dipping your feet into these acts yourself to help make changes for the better.


Bibliography

Aziz, S. (2021, August 11). COVID-19 widened disparities for Canada's ethnocultural communities: Study. Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/8096250/covid-inequities-ethnocultural-communities-study/.

Bingley, M. (2021, July 22). Toronto officials, police under fire for tactics used to clear homeless Encampments - Toronto. Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/8052972/lamport-stadium-park-encampment-toronto-police/.

Stranger, D. (2021, July 23). Toronto criticized for using force to REMOVE homeless in local park. APTN News. https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/advocates-speaking-out-after-homeless-encampment-forcibly-removed-by-toronto-police/.



Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in the blog posts are those of the contributing author. Rising Sun Food Drive Foundation makes every effort to provide space for young people to advocate and voice their thoughts, research, opinions and ideas that are inspired by our mission but may not reflect on the organization's services and operations.

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