Sensible solutions to poverty

One of the issues driving the “Occupy” movement is the rapidly increasing gap between the wealthy and the rest of us.

One of the issues driving the “Occupy” movement is the rapidly increasing gap between the wealthy and the rest of us.

In BC it is quite clear that gap could be reduced by establishing policies to reduce poverty levels and to ensure children and their families have sufficient resources to be able to lead healthy and productive lives instead of having to chose between “paying the rent and feeding the kids”.

Across our country, several provinces have introduced comprehensive and integrated poverty reduction plans and we hope this will soon happen in BC.

Trail’s “Poor No More” committee would like to suggest that local residents have a look at some sensible and affordable suggestions for positive change  that are posted on the BC Poverty Reduction Plan’s website www.bcpovertyreduction.ca. We want to thank the Trail area groups which have recently “signed on” to the website in support of the plan.

The proposals include providing access to safe, affordable housing, improving pay and working conditions for people in low wage jobs, increasing income and other supports for those who are unemployed or unable to work, making sure no-one goes hungry, providing access to high quality, public child care and making training and education more accessible and affordable.

If these measures were implemented, studies suggest that the costs would be more than paid for through reduced health, social services, legal and justice system expenses.

This seems reasonable when one understands that, on average, a homeless person costs these systems over $40,000 per year.

Furthermore, studies by several agencies including the National Council on Welfare, Conference Board of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives show that our governments would have net savings of billions of dollars by reducing poverty.

We commend all those who are part of the LCCDT and the Shelter Cttee for efforts to provide shelter and affordable housing for Trail area residents.

We know that if the work of these and other local groups were part of a coordinated provincial poverty reduction plan, so much more could be done in a much shorter period of time.

Please let the BC government, your MLA and City officials know that you support the immediate creation of a comprehensive, legislated poverty reduction plan for BC.

Marilynne Schapansky,

Linda Ady,

Louise McEwan,

Ann Godderis

Poor No More Committee

Trail