Introduction to Income, Prosperity & Poverty

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Economic development in a region needs to be enjoyed by all of its citizens. Regional development involves creating a place for individuals, companies and families to prosper. The gap between the rich and poor is widening and broadening in many communities, including Niagara. The level of poverty, child poverty, low income and homelessness affects the health and well being of individuals, families, regions and society as a whole.

 

What we are doing well …

Individuals and organizations are studying the impact of poverty in Niagara and working on a framework for action. Shelters and food banks throughout the region are dedicated to supporting those in need. Regional leaders in business, labour, union and government are in dialogue to work together on economic development strategies. The Niagara Regional Community Services Department offers financial assistance, Ontario Works, subsidized housing and subsidized day care. Groups have been established to address issues of homelessness and the integration of new immigrants into the region.

 

Where we can improve …

The gap between the highest and lowest income earners is steadily growing. We have little to cheer about when a large percent of Niagara’s children and families struggle to get by living below the poverty line. The statistics are made up of real people who struggle each day to keep their housing, to find work, to raise families and to eat well in our midst. There are variations across our region where unemployment, low income and poverty are higher. In addition, populations who experience higher levels of poverty also experience housing, health, education, wage earnings and unemployment unequally. It is important to address all the underlying issues that contribute to poverty to make our region robust and liveable for everyone.

 

Overall score: Level 1. In dire need of corrective action.

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