The complexity of poverty

Inspirations Studio, run by United Way member agency Sistering - A Woman's Place, is a pottery studio that helps women who are marginalized establish and manage their own arts and crafts micro-businesses. Supported by Toronto Enterprise Fund, a partnership between United Way and three levels of government, it's helping create long-term, sustainable employment opportunities.

Inspirations Studio, run by United Way member agency Sistering – A Woman’s Place, is a pottery studio that helps women who are marginalized establish and manage their own arts and crafts micro-businesses. Supported by Toronto Enterprise Fund, a partnership between United Way and three levels of government, it’s helping create long-term, sustainable employment opportunities.

When it comes to poverty there is no perfect answer. It’s an incredibly complex problem. One that affects us all.

These are challenging times. Recent statistics on underemployment and food bank use prove we haven’t yet fully recovered from the last recession. Our agencies continue to tell us how tough it is to meet rising demand for services. And long term trends like concentration of poverty continue to threaten our city.

These issues should be our call to action. Their scope should be matched by the strength of our conviction. We must be motivated to do more — think more deeply, work more collaboratively, make change happen.

Women Moving Forward is a groundbreaking poverty reduction program offered by Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, an agency funded by United Way. The program empowers young mothers like Aneesa who are living on low-income or social assistance to realize a new future of financial independence.

Women Moving Forward is a groundbreaking poverty reduction program offered by Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, an agency funded by United Way. The program empowers young mothers like Aneesa who are living on low-income or social assistance to realize a new future of financial independence.

We need everyone working together and pulling in the same direction to make progress. And our efforts must be as multi-faceted and complex as poverty itself.

The good news is we aren’t starting from scratch. As Diane says, there is “good thinking going on.” Innovative wrap-around programs like WoodGreen’s Homeward Bound are helping transition people from despair into independence. Our Building Strong Neighbourhood Strategy has brought new community services and space to Toronto’s most underserved communities. Many organizations are thinking long-term.

Why is all of this important? Because every effort to put our friends and neighbours on the path to success and wellbeing makes a difference for all of us. When one person succeeds, everyone benefits. It’s better for our economy, our city, and our society as a whole.

Yes, the obstacles are great. But we must continue to imagine a city where there are solutions. We must continue to build on the work of leaders like Diane to make change happen.

It’s an uphill battle, but with your help, we can do it.