Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 103

Dear Colleagues, 

Truth and Reconciliation Week is Sept 26th to 30th. This is a time to reflect on hard truths but I challenge you and myself to reflect on how reconciliation can be a daily action.  

The Poverty Task Force and members have been working hard to build relations with Indigenous partners, communities and Nations. With the leadership of Giiwe, Indigenous-led Sharing Circles focus on housing & homelessness and youth issues.  

Diane Giroux has said that “the Giiwe process is so much more than reconciliation, it is a healing journey. The treaties signed between nations belong to all of us. We are on a healing journey for both sides. Colonialism is all of our past. We need to honour this. We need to honour the best side of all of us.”  

Reconciliation is alive and happening! Giiwe work is expanding its Sharing Circles and Cultural Mindfulness workshops. 

  • With an Agents of Change grant, Giiwe Sharing Circles are being organized with government councils, doctors and nurses, housing services, youth services from Sept to Dec 2022.  There are a few retreats being organized on Oct 9th and Dec 2nd at Silver Lake Camp/Sauble Beach. 
  • Giiwe is delivering Cultural Mindfulness with First Responders, City of Owen Sound Managers and other senior managers/leaders. 
  • Giiwe is also part of an international collaboration on A Shared Future and  the Gikinoo’amaagewin Wiigwaam project on Indigenous land stewardship. 
  • Reach out to Diane Giroux, giiwe.home@gmail.com, 519-271-1147, to connect on how to join the Giiwe in building relations and positive change in community. 
  • ‘Gidinawendimin – “We are all related’ shares the culture, language, music, dance, and stories from across the regions. Register today to view the live stream here.  

INCOME SUPPORT

Federal Affordability Inflation Measures: the government has announced new measures to address inflation to target low and modest income earners.  

  • Canada Dental Benefit: for children under 12 who do not have access to dental insurance. Low- and middle-income families with a combined income of under $90,000 can access up to $650 per year for the next two years for dental services. The next step will be to extend dental care to under 18s, seniors and people with disabilities by the end of 2023, before full implementation of the program by 2025.
  • GST Tax Credit: doubled for six months. Singles without children will get up to $234 more from the credit, couples with children will get up to $467 more and seniors can expect an average boost of $225 this year.
  • Canada Housing Benefit: a one-time increase to the Canada Housing Benefit, providing up to $500 to 1.8 million Canadian renters struggling with housing needs. The federal government said the benefit will be available to families with an adjusted net income below $35,000 — or to singles with incomes below $20,000 — who pay at least 30% of their income on rent. 

Challenges still exist for any additional dollars reaching people that have not filed their taxes, people without homes and those who are couch surfing. Income solutions are needed to address such as a guaranteed basic income and living wage but these must be accessible to everyone as well.

  • YMCA Webinar: Basics on Tax Benefits: Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 at 1:30pm – General Tax Awareness (30 mins):Join the CVITP and Benefits Outreach Officer with the CRA to ask questions and find out more on the basics of taxes. Register here.  
  • Ontario Photo, OHIP, Driver’s Licenses Cards and license plates: you can now sign up for free digital reminders by email, text, or phone call 60 and 30 days before it is time to renew. These are critical to access services and avoid fines for expired license and plates.
  • Retreated Workers’ Survey: the survey released by the Four County Labour Planning Board is still open until Sept 30th. The response has been good and is providing insights into barriers to employment, which age groups are not returning to the workforce and what retention & attraction strategies need to be used to meet the demand for employees.  Find the survey here

HOUSING SUPPORT

  • Home Takeover Project: has released its findings, recommendations and guidelines which can be found at this Grey Bruce Public Health link.
    • This project is focused on Rent Geared to Income/Grey County Housing in Owen Sound for the pilot since they initially raised the issue to be addressed. 
    • Community Partners Survey Results and Interviews with People with Lived Experience have been summarized and posted. Key resources including education posters, flyers, postcards and checklists are also posted. 
    • A Response Framework, Guidebook and Response Pathway for Organizations and Service Providers are being developed. For presentations and more information contact Lisa Alguire at Grey Bruce Health Unit (519-376-9420). 
  • The Long-term Landlord Housing Initiative is underway, and The Meeting Place is accepting applications until September 14th, 2022. Potential applicants can reach out to housing@tobermorymeetingplace.com, or download the Application Guide and Form at this website link
  • Wiarton Propeller Club has announced it is donating land for affordable housing in partnership with South Bruce Peninsula Municipality.  

NEWCOMER SUPPORT 

TRANSPORTATION SUPPORT

  • GTR route between Owen Sound and Sauble Beach was closed on Sept 5th. Regular Route 5 service will resume on Tuesday, September 6 between Owen Sound and Wiarton. Learn more at www.grey.ca/gtr
  • The Salvation Army Wiarton: is offering transportation support for medical or grocery rides. We mourn the loss of Kim Chegano who passed recently. She gave so much to the community. She will be very missed. Contact Roni Delleman at: 519-534-0353 x 100. 

FOOD SUPPORT

  • Grey Bruce Good Food Box has updated its schedule at its 20 pickup locations. Please note that several locations will start up only in October and others have changed pickup days and times. For a complete list of locations, order and pick ups times, check the 211 listing.  
  • The Ontario School Nutrition Programs (OSNP) Grey Bruce is welcoming volunteers back into schools but is still  facing challenges with the rising cost of food.  The OSNP provides funding and support to 61 schools in Grey and Bruce Counties. 
  • The Meaford Community Gardens is celebrating 12 years of gardening and reported they shared 300-400 lbs of food monthly this harvest. 

FUNDING SUPPORT 

Stay well, Jill