Supporting urgent needs and promoting independence and long-term financial stability

In a community where everyone matters, we all look after one another. When individuals and  families are facing tough times, we extend our hands to help with immediate needs and connect them to programs and services proven to lead to long-term independence.

Why focus on poverty?

1 in 7

people in London and area live in poverty.

7%

was the increase in London and Middlesex population, between 2006 to 2014

1 in 5

of London’s newcomers live with low income - 26.6% of London’s low-income population

35%

of people received social assistance

1 in 4

people with disabilities live in poverty

An example of how we respond to the issue

In the past year, more than 4,000 households accessed one of four United Way funded neighbourhood resource centres in London, where they were able to access emergency supports like baby food and diaper banks, meal programs and employment supports.

2,004 meals were served to kids from low-income homes through a summer breakfast program in northeast London.

3,588 visits to the Youth Opportunities Unlimited Next Wave Youth Centre. The Centre brings job opportunities, training programs, social enterprise, alternative education and support programs to youth in Strathroy and area.

The London Employment Help Centre helped individuals in financial crisis access more than $8 million social supports.

Trends

The growth of poverty in London and Middlesex County is a disturbing trend–one that threatens the long-term health and prosperity of our entire community. The gap between rich and poor continues to widen and low-income households are falling further behind. The proportion of area residents living with income below the Low Income Cut-Off has increased since 2006. The low-income rate is rising faster in our community than the rest of Ontario. This is likely due to the fact that Southwestern Ontario, including London, was hit particularly hard by the recession and is recovering more slowly than the Province as a whole.

Many populations, including people with disabilities, people with mental health issues and newcomers, are more likely to live in poverty as a result of having a low income. Accessing social assistance can be complicated and time consuming. Even full access to all applicable social assistance can leave a recipient with less than what is required to afford the basic costs of living. Employment is key to exiting poverty and an important first step is often the development of skills through participation in employment readiness programs. For newcomers, learning more about Canadian workplace culture is also key. Ethnic and racial discrimination in our community means visible minority groups are often unable to translate their skills and education into stable employment or proper compensation.

Strategy

This year, United Way London & Middlesex will invest $336,815 in programs that help individuals gain access to applicable social assistance income. United Way also invests in services that develop employability skills as well as programs that address barriers to employment, including a newcomer mentorship program that provides valuable networking contacts to newcomers, provides background education of Canadian professional practices, and helps strengthen the local economy through the employment of newcomers.

Anticipated community outcomes

 

Anticipated Community Outcomes_Page_1

If you have any questions, please contact:

Katy Boychuk
Community Planning Specialist
Ph: 519-438-1721
Ext. 249
KBoychuk@unitedwaylm.ca

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