New ‘Poverty Profiles’ Fuel for Social Action

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By Matthew Van Dongen, The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton Centre has more impoverished renters living in decrepit housing than any other riding in the city, according to a new series of “poverty profiles” released Friday.

Nearly one-third of riding residents live in poverty, including four out of every 10 children. Both statistics nearly double the city average, said Deirdre Pike, senior planner with the Social Research Planning Council of Hamilton, which authored the profiles.

She wants you to spread the word.

“These profiles are a tool to start a dialogue, a conversation with your MP or MPP,” said Pike. “We know we have a poverty problem. That’s not new. But we have to look at this information in new ways.”

The profiles match what The Spectator found in its groundbreaking Code Red statistical investigations of neighbourhood poverty and health. But Pike noted the riding breakdown revealed poverty “is a cross-jurisdictional problem.”

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For example, the poverty rate on Hamilton Mountain is 16 per cent. “People often look at the downtown and say, ‘Oh, that’s where the problem is.’ But the (poverty rate) on the Mountain is only slightly below the city average,” she said.

The report also notes the rural poor have less access to services than downtown residents.

Pike praised the city for “stepping up again and again,” including a recent decision to help fund anti-poverty programs following provincial cuts. “But we can’t just have a single-tier response,” she said. “We need to have that conversation with our MPs and MPPs.”

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Article & Image Source: The Hamilton Spectator


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