We came together as the full Poverty Task Force on Friday, Oct 16th. Many of our Action Groups have been meeting regularly to coordinate immediate response to the Pandemic but since March 13th, this was the first time we gathered the larger group.
PTF MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
- We released our Impact Report 2020 on Oct 17th the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The press release was picked up locally as well as in provincially in the Nutrition Connections.
- We are developing a Shared Measurement Plan workshop with specialists at Tamarack. The workshop will most likely be virtual in late 2020 or early 2021. This is an opportunity for organizations to gain more M&E experience for their staff members. Please let Jill Umbach or Caroline Araujo-Abbotts know if you are interested. Thank you to the Community Foundation Grey Bruce for approving an extension to The Sharring Impact grant.
- IMPACT OF COVID19 on Families in Grey Bruce Survey: this precarious work survey has expanded to include more questions about the impact of the pandemic on families. Please encourage as many people living with precarious employment to complete the survey. The survey closes on November 30th, 2020.
- The Food Security Action Group meets bi-weekly to address the immediate response to the pandemic but is also putting into place more working systems for surplus food distribution. The Keeping Not-For-Profits Connected During COVID-19 (see attached flyer) outlines the program and how to get connected. It is anticipated that more grocery stores will be approached to enhance this food redistribution program
- The Food Bruce Grey website has been released for the collection of data by community food programs.
- The Housing and Homelessness Group meets weekly to address immediate response to the pandemic. Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy partners, public health, CMHA and police are part of this group to address complex cases of homelessness.
- Owen Sound City Manager Tim Simmons hosted the group to brainstorm on solutions to complex cases and ‘hot spots’ in the city.
289 households, 426 individuals, 3,515 nights, average 8.8 nights per person (Pre-COVID- 2-3 nights per person) have been housed by the YMCA Housing.
- Housing needs top the key issues in September 2020 for 211 calls.
- The online Grey Bruce Health Equity Tool has been recently reviewed and updated. If you have any additional suggestions or resources for the online tool, please feel free to forward to Lisa Alguire.
- The Health Equity Tool will be shared and presented at the upcoming Collaborative Action on Climate Change Virtual Conference, October 28, 2020.
- Many Income & Employment Action Group members have moved to online training – skills upgrading and apprenticeship which has been well received, however, access to computers and wifi are ongoing needs. The YMCA Employment has a loaner laptop program.
- Many OW/ODSP clients appreciate meeting by phone/virtually instead of in-person because of travel costs; staff also found clients opened up in a different way over the phone than in person.
- There is fear, stress and anxiety experienced in regards to how public health measures will impact their employment.
- Proposed CRA filing of simple returns may change the Community Volunteer Income Tax program. There was a slight rush for community income tax programs at the end of September. There may be another rush once people stop receiving benefits.
- Grey Transit Route has added new routes and is free for Sept and Oct.
- Bruce County – The Transportation and Environmental Services Committee has approved the interim strategy to develop capacity for a taxi, Uber or Lyft type Ride for Hire services.
Tamarack Institute’s Cities Reducing Poverty team has recently launched registration for their 2020 CRP Member Gathering: The End of Poverty online event on Thursday November 19th from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm ET.
- The keynote speaker is Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi. As the Poverty Task Force is a member organization we can have 5 people register from our organization. Please let me (Jill Umbach) know if you are interested to attend this event.
- United Way BG and GB Community Foundation Community Emergency Support Fund is still open for round 2. There is a single intake closing on Friday, Oct 30th. Contact Francesca Dobbyn or Stuart Reid.
- Canada Recovery Benefits – Applicants have received error messages, experienced technical glitches and confusion over eligibility questions. The federal government has made changes to correct these issues and encourages eligible citizens who were unable to apply should try again.
- SWIFT Network is now in the third phase of its broadband expansion plan. SWIFT has issued $197 million in Requests for Proposals (RFP) to bring faster, reliable internet services to more homes and businesses in the region. Bruce County ($13,604,132) and Grey County ($15,974,079) are currently reviewing proposals.
- Bruce County has launched a new Workforce Development and Attraction Strategy. Analysis during the strategy’s creation noted that the region’s available workforce decreased by 10.9% from 2004 to 2016, and that approximately 22,000 people are nearing retirement in the next 5-10 years.
- Over the next five years, Bruce County will explore innovative ways of attracting, retaining, and training employees, which will help local businesses and entrepreneurs overcome labour force challenges.
BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE
- The Ed Broadbent Centre has released a new report Basic Income Guarantee – a social democratic framework as part of their Essential Solutions Project, which brings together experts across multiple disciplines to generate innovative answers to the complex challenges we face right now and chart a path towards a more equitable and resilient future for all of us.
Three other campaigns call for a Basic Income:
- Housing Stability Fund: Bruce County has received new funding to assist people who may be at risk of losing their housing, due to financial hardship from Covid-19. Because of this they will be expanding the guidelines of the Housing Stability Fund to accommodate people who have incurred more substantial arrears during this time. They have also made changes to the income guidelines, to allow more people to qualify for assistance. If you have any questions, contact Carolyn Parks at: CParks@brucecounty.on.ca
Stay well, Jill