Around this time of year, we often reflect on how fortunate we are — to maintain our health and to live in a prosperous city with opportunity. However, throughout Edmonton there is a large population of those who are not as fortunate and are struggling to get by.
Poverty runs deeper within Edmonton’s identity than most think. 2013 statistics show that 100,810 Edmontonians are living in poverty; 27,970 of which are children.
Poverty in our current day has taken on a complex set of characteristics.
• 12.7% of Edmontonians lived in low income in 2011
• Lone parent’s median income in 2011 was $47,200 less than the median income for two-parent families in 2011; the income gap between lone- and two-parent families increased by $10,500 between 2001 and 2011 (constant 2011$).
• Women in Edmonton working full-time earn on average just 75.1% of what their male counterparts do
• Almost 2/3 of new immigrants to Canada experience low income for 3+ years
• The vast majority of poor people in Edmonton are working full-time, full-year and often more than one job
• Poverty costs Albertans $7.1 billion dollars per year
• Furthermore, research shows us that a poverty reduction strategy costs approximately 50% of continuing to address the symptoms of poverty.
It is for these reasons that in May 2012, City Council chose to proactively address poverty issues through the Edmonton Poverty Elimination Initiative.
The initiative’s vision is that poverty ends in Edmonton within a generation, and this is guided by four goals. These goals are that all Edmontonians have the necessary income and resources to meet their needs, every child develops to their full potential, there is equitable access to opportunities, and there is growth of incomes and assets.
Through a collaborative approach with partners, those living in poverty, and affected communities, and through investing time, resources, and funds now, the initiatives intends to achieve long-term, progressive change, and reduce the overall cost of poverty to taxpayers.
To learn more, I invite you to visit http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/initiatives_innovation/eliminating-poverty-in-edmonton.aspx
You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, at 780 496 8146, or @Ben_Hen.