Poverty Task Force Meeting Minutes_17 October 2014

October’s Poverty Task Force meeting was held in the morning of the Imposium organized by the Income Security Action Group.  Deidre Pike joined us for the morning and was the keynote speaker for our event.

Deidre Pike’s fascination for sharing stories drives who she is and what she does as both a Senior Social Planner for the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton (SPRC) and columnist for The Hamilton Spectator. In both roles, Pike sees it as her responsibility to facilitate conversation and to improve community engagement.

In her role at the SPRC, Pike identifies “social trends and issues in Hamilton and finds collaborative ways to address them”. Her work focuses primarily on poverty elimination, healthy development of children and youth, housing and homelessness, equity and inclusion and anti-oppression for the LGBTQ community.

The Steering Committee, Community Voices and all 4 Action Groups reported out on activities:

  • Bruce and Grey County Councils have received a budget request to support coordination of PTF in the 2015 budget. Budget approval in January 2015.
  •  The Grey Bruce Children’s Alliance and Healthy Communities Partnership are exploring a Grey Bruce Data Consortium for both counties. 
  • The Children’s Alliance is developing a website. PTF  will have a page and link on the website under Grey Bruce Initiatives.
  • Grey County Transportation Study report presented by Lough Barnes. The Transportation Action Group members participated in a stakeholders meeting with Grey County staff and consultants.   Proposed next steps have been budgeted and will need to be approved in January.  Rural Transportation Study Presentation
  • The Housing Action Group’s proposal to the Homelessness Partnership Strategy Fund was not successful. They will be looking for other resources their Above Standards Housing Project.
  • The Income Security Action Group has been very busy organizing today’s Imposium.
  • The Food Security Action Group is reaching out through the community to engage with them on the draft Grey Bruce Food Charter.
  • Recommendations from Diedre Pike presentation and discussion:
  • Canada is the only G8 country to not have a national Poverty Reduction Strategy. Today the Chew On This campaign advocates for this strategy. www.chewonthis.ca
  • Challenge with current Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy is that no targets have been set in the new strategy and therefore very difficult to measure progress. Engage with ongoing regional, provincial and national campaigns/organizations such as Worker’s Action Centre, 25 in 5, Living Wage Canada.
  • Seek out funding for the work of the Poverty Task Force through funders such as Atkinson Decent Work Fund. http://atkinsonfoundation.ca/grants/atkinson-decent-work-fund/
  • Engage with organizations such as Freedom 90 that call for Food Banks to close and the Ontario government to find better solutions to address Food Security.  http://www.freedom90.ca/index.html
  • Evaluate the membership of your Poverty Task Force – how do we have interest groups join us? In Hamilton, the Resolution Advocates invited candidates to discuss challenges for people with disabilities in a meeting held at the City Council.  They sought partnership to finding solutions to accessibility in the city.
  • Popularize your data. Access the tax data to find the data that is no longer available from the census.
  • Engage with media on developing Living Wage campaign.  Do our local Not-For-Profits pay a living wage? Examine ourselves first. How many small businesses will sign up?  Use boiler plate bylaws developed by larger Ontario-based groups. We have way more influence over municipalities than province.  Hold forums in City Council with people with lived experience. Regularly write correspondence to provincial government and respond to consultations.
  • Develop an Ontario Works/Ontario Disability Support Program Operations Table which involves advocates with lived experience at the table.
  • Poverty Task Force Minutes 17 Oct 2014

Next meeting is December 12th in Port Elgin.

PTF Housing Action Group Minutes_3 Dec 2014

Housing Action Group of the Poverty Task Force met on December 3rd, 2014. Bob Hart, Public Health shared a logic model for the Housing Action Groups’ Above Standard Housing Project.  There is buy-in from the municipalities and they recognize the relationship between health and housing.

There is consideration to provide a workshop for this group and suggestion for potential topics from this group would be appreciated. One suggestion was to focus on a concrete topic such as mould and the relationship to health. Mould is a tough and huge issue because it could be a tenant or landlord issue. Possibilities at a workshop could be:

  • To provide a Mould case example and a toolkit, with a technical perspective. (Air quality testing as a tool). There are no standards when testing for mould. It was suggested that a toolkit for landlords could be a good idea for the workshop.
  • Another suggestion came from the Nov 14, 2014 Grey County Housing event, guest speaker who mentioned that some areas have tried an accredited apartment system for landlords.
  • Housing says more landlords and apartments are needed so it is important to present a positive message.
  • A potential issue for some landlords is a lack of resources. Some landlords cannot afford to fix things up. Age of Grey and Bruce housing units are much older than the provincial average so will have more problems.
  • Home inspection program with recommendations for inexpensive repairs.
  • OS bylaw staff provide suggestions for housing repairs. Some of the outlying municipalities are not involved with this.
  • Fire alarms and CO2 are not enforced in municipalities where there is no fire department. The workshop could also include fire safety, CO2, heat, and other topics which would help to build relationships with the bylaw staff.
  • Bylaw staff work only part time. CBO or clerk may be responsible for some of the responsibilities of housing inspection, therefore it would be advantageous to broaden the workshop invitation to those who are involved in these roles.  Workshop should also focus on : what can be done,  understanding each other’s role, and how to work together, gaps analysis.
  • Funding for a series have workshops is being sought with some initial support from Canadian Mortgage and Housing Association ($2,000).
  • Regional Project on mental health and addiction issues – Colleen Purdon did a focus group on the topic of mental health and addictions.  Recommendations from meeting on Friday. Housing considerations from a Housing First Model.  A Pilot project in Grey County has been recommended, with an outreach worker and chronic homelessness and another partner.   Impact of early trauma for substance abuse is evidence.  Colleen will share.
  • Glenda Devlin- Right to Housing rally – 500 people met at Yonge and Dundas in Toronto to march. A Forum was provided after the march. Coalition is about the charter challenge, a group is going to Supreme Court of Canada for charter rights, The Right to Argue the Charter for Housing and Homelessness Strategy.  Canada is the only G8 country that does not have a national housing strategy.   More than 35 organizations were represented.
  • Women’s Shelter funding – Patty mentioned that a research grant for $15,000 for women and girls was submitted last year. The Women’s Shelter partnered with HU last year but the grant did not get accepted for funding. This year the funding is available again with a deadline of Feb 1.  Patty will send information of this grant.
  • See full minutes at: Housing Committee Dec 3, 2014 minutes