The province has announced a renewed strategy to reduce poverty.
This is good news and Guelph is well poised to participate given the work of the Guelph Wellington Taskforce for Poverty Elimination, County of Wellington, Neighbourhood Support Coalition, HOPE House, Guelph Wellbeing, Seed Community Food Hub, Bridges out of Poverty and many more innovative collaborations. Reducing poverty cannot be achieved by one level of government or a single sector. Fortunately, leaders in Guelph understand this.
The government has stated that their new, refocused strategy to reduce poverty “is built around and rooted in the determination of people struggling with poverty, those who are trying to get ahead and fully participate in the communities and the province that they call home”.
The Strategy is built around four key pillars:
- a long-term goal to end homelessness in Ontario
- continuing to break the cycle of poverty, with a focus on children and youth
- moving toward employment and income security, as a critical means to reduce poverty
- investing in what works, by funding programs based on evidence–based policy making
These four pillars align with much of the work in Guelph. Again, great news.
Government investments and initiatives include:
- $42 million for the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), which enables local governments to develop homelessness programs tailored to their community’s unique needs, bringing the investment to a total of almost $294 million per year (as announced in the 2014 Budget).
- Creating 1,000 new supportive housing spaces by allocating $16 million over three years to help Ontarians living with mental illness and addictions issues.
- Raising the maximum annual benefit for the Ontario Child Benefit — which supports about one million children in more than 500,000 low- to moderate-income families — to $1,310 per child as of July 2014. In addition, the Province is indexing the benefit to inflation to help families keep up with the cost of living (as announced in the 2014 Budget).
- Committing to provide health benefits for children and youth in low-income families to ensure they have access to services outside of publicly funded health care, such as prescription drugs, vision care, and mental health services.
- $50 million over five years for a Local Poverty Reduction Fund designed to reward local solutions that demonstrate they are helping to lift people out of poverty (as announced in the 2014 Budget).
Our collaborative community approach will be an asset when make applications for funding for Guelph.