The Poverty Task Force is made up of 6 sector-based Actions Groups and Community Voices. These groups carry out collaborative projects to increase our impact on food security, income and employment security, housing, health equity and transportation. There is also a Bridges (Out of Poverty) Action Group. Community Voices makes up a 7th Advisory/Action Group that examines the causes of poverty from the perspective of people with grounded expertise. Members of Community Voices have graduated from the Getting Ahead program and are advocates for change within their own communities. The sub-groups of the Poverty Task Force dig deeper into the root causes of poverty in our communities and take action.

The Community Voices group is made up of 8-10 Getting Ahead graduates. They are people with “grounded expertise” – experience in having lived/living with low resources. They act as an advisory group to review and vet the work of the Poverty Task Force.  And they act as catalysts to energize and inform the work of our other Action Groups.

The Community Voices have gained a voice and professionalism to their analysis of community issues which has resulted in them being in-demand at community and social agency consultations on housing, income, food security and transportation issues.

Some of our recent work includes CGroup of people reflecting people with lived experience being engaged.ommunity Voices advocates in the community by meeting with local politicians, labour representatives and business leaders to discuss precarious work, transportation, health equity, income security, housing and food security.

How they participate as vital members of the Poverty Task Force is reflected in Tamarack Institute’s 2019 publication TEN: Engaging People with Lived/Living Experience: a guide for including people in poverty reduction.  Read more about our Community Voices in this book as Story 10 in the guidebook (pg 35) – Grey and Bruce Counties – Elevating Communities Voices across rural communities.

Community Voices members are members of the Rentsafe Advocates Network and are part of the research team in the Above Standard Housing Project in Bruce and Grey Counties.  Members have produced videos and participated in Learning Circles with housing stakeholders.

Community Voices members engage our local governments on Diversity and Inclusion of People on Low Income. Community Voices developed the We All Live Here education campaign in the 2018 Municipal Elections.  A policy paper was presented to the City of Owen Sound on September 15th, 2017.

Community Voices members hosted a discussion on  Rural Poverty with MPP Ted McMeekin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier, to share their stories and contribute to the Rural Poverty Report being prepared by his office.

Community Voices led consultation discussions with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services on the regulation of alternative financial services such as payday loans.  And have participated  in Food Security Conversations, Fall Food Gatherings (food security) and  Community Volunteer Income Tax Network Meetings (income security).

Did you know? Bridges Out of Poverty is a comprehensive approach to understanding the dynamics that cause and maintain poverty from the individual to the systemic level. Getting Ahead is a way for people in poverty to analyze their own life and to make plans for building resources.

“My voice is power. Part of each person’s story comes from the past, from where and how we live, from the people in our lives. We are all creating our future stories right now.” Co-chair, Community Voices

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