Housing is a Human Right

Canada has adopted a Rights-Based approach to its first-ever National Housing Strategy on November 22nd, 2017.  They have announced their new strategy with a $41 billion budget over the next 10 years.

In addition to existing programs,  what is new?

$15.9 billion for a National Housing Co-investment Fund 

  • $4.7 billion in financial contributions and
  • $11.2 billion in low interest loans to developers that meet certain criteria including ensuring that:
    • 30 per cent of units in a development will rent for less than 80 per cent of median market rents for at least 20 years.
    • At least a 25 per cent reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over national building and energy codes.
    • 20 per cent of units meet accessibility standards.

$200 million Transfer of Federal Lands to housing providers on condition that they meet environmental, socioeconomic and affordability standards.

A separate Indigenous People Housing Strategy will be developed with their input.

What is the need locally? 

  • 60% of people on low-income are working
  • 20% of employees in Grey County have multiple jobs
  •  95% of all new jobs created in Ontario were part-time
  • 1 in 3 jobs in Ontario is temporary, contract, or part-time.
  • 1 in 5 children live in poverty in Ontario
  •  17% of Grey County and Bruce County children under age 17 live in poverty.
  • 21 food banks exist in Grey County and Bruce County. 16% of the population of Bruce and Grey Counties have accessed a food bank.
  • In Ontario, the average food bank client spends 70% of income on rent.
  • Waitlist for Affordable Housing in Grey County has increased by 15% in the last year. 730 families are on the wait list.

How far the budget reaches down to support our Municipal budgets for affordable housing is still to be determined.  But the Federal leadership sets the direction for budge allocations going forward!

Measuring Homelessness in Grey County and Bruce County  

Our Housing Action Group will be monitoring and reporting on developments.   Currently, our Housing Action Group are developing the program design and implementation for Ontario’s Homelessness Enumeration on April 23rd to 27th, 2018.  This will be a Point-in-Time  Rural Survey carried out in partnership with community agencies and volunteers.

The report of Ontario’s Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness (the Panel), A Place to Call Home, stated: “Over the past several decades, homelessness in Canada has been on the rise” (2015, p.7). The experience of homelessness is understood to be a severe form of deprivation for people affected by a wide range of factors over which they have no control, such as unemployment or precarious employment, challenges with finding affordable housing, and economic hardship. Further, homelessness has
unequal impacts that are linked with racialization, gender, sexual
orientation, age, ability, language, immigration status, socioeconomic
status, mental health and addictions issues, regional location, and
Indigenous identity. Learning more about the prevalence and realities of
homelessness can galvanize community stakeholders who want to
develop more effective ways of addressing it.

Read more about Grey County’s Trends and Analysis as part of its County of Grey Housing  and Homelessness Plan (2014-2024) and Bruce County’s Long-Term Housing Housing Strategy (2013-2023).

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Grey Bruce Online Food Map is Launched; Targets Hunger and Waste Reduction

The Food Security Action Group (FSAG) has launched a Bruce Grey Food Assets Map. The map will help to connect organizations and businesses looking to build better food security throughout the region.

Currently, the Food Assets Map includes programs and initiatives like community gardens, community meals, food banks, food education, good food boxes, meal delivery services, student nutrition programs, and other support services. Food businesses on the map include farmers’ markets, distributors, grocers, producers, processors, restaurants and cafés. The map also captures food system infrastructure assets such as dry and cold storage, commercial kitchens and transportation opportunities.

Are you part of the food system in Grey Bruce? If so, FSAG wants you on the map. Individuals and groups may submit new assets for the map using a crowd-source form hosted by Grey County.

Over the next few months, FSAG will use mapped resources to engage partners in a Grey Bruce Food Gleaning project. Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover foods that would otherwise go to waste and connecting those foods to people in need. According to a 2014 Value Chain Management Centre report, Canadians waste a staggering $31 billion in food every year. Food gleaning can play a role in reducing food waste and its impacts, producing social, environmental and economic benefits.

The map was developed in partnership with Grey County GIS Mapping Services following a survey and interviews with food security programs and services. The Food Security Action Group is a branch of the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force.

Community members are encouraged to connect with Jaden Calvert of FSAG to help populate the map or to contribute to regional food gleaning projects:  jaden.calvert@gmail.com.

For technical issues with the map, contact Grey County GIS at gisdesk@grey.ca.  Please reference Bruce, Grey, Food Asset Map.

Link to map: http://grey.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a70b87bc334846638b8d738ab26fced9

Link to map form: http://grey.maps.arcgis.com/apps/GeoForm/index.html?appid=ed0501c109e7401eb1f0f262a51dac17

Behind the Scenes: Poverty Task Force Cover Photo

Image Source: Jill Umbach

At first glance, when people look at our cover photo they often see a rich lifestyle – the expensive sailboat moored in the Owen Sound Harbour with cheerful sunflowers in the foreground. Life looks nice and easy! So, how is this related to the Poverty Task Force?

It Takes A Crew 

In fact, the sailboat you see in the cover photo is the Playfair, a Toronto Brigantine Tall Ship, home to a Youth Empowerment Program.  They believe:

“It takes a crew to run a boat. No one person can sail these great ships. It takes a community, working together. Trainees learn quickly that their shipmates depend on them, and that they can rely on their shipmates too. This is how they build community, camaraderie, respect and bonding.”

Toronto Brigantine Tall Ship Adventures for Youth

This is how we approach our analysis and work at the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force.  Our collective community efforts are needed if we are to have an impact on poverty in our community.

Gardening for Food and Mental Health

Let It Grow TP
Image Source: Let It Grow

The sunflowers along the Owen Sound Harbour are edible and part of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Grey Bruce’s Let It Grow program. The flowers are grown and cared for by community members with a greater purpose than making us smile.

Gardening is a way to help build a sense of community, promote active living and encourage people to work outdoors. For consumers, gardening can reduce stress and improve mental health, increase social interaction and help to break down stigma.

We’re looking for local photographers!

Do you have a passion for photography, your own DSLR camera and experience with photo editing? We could use your help!

We are looking for volunteers to help make a difference by harnessing the power of photography to advocate for poverty reform and social change in Bruce and Grey Counties.

Learn more…

Rural Transportation Forum Report June 2014

The Rural Ontario Institute, in partnership with Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition and Bruce County, hosted a half-day forum in Walkerton to explore the rural transportation solutions.

In total, 44 stakeholders from across the region participated in the forum, which included representatives from regional municipalities, health and social service providers, and provincial ministry staff. Members of the Poverty Task Force Steering Committee and Transportation Action Committee participated and 2 groups were formed to discuss Rural Transportation in Grey Bruce.

Rural_Transportation_Forum_-_Walkerton_June_16_2014_-_Discussion_Notes