Recent statistics state 1 in 7 people in Niagara are living in poverty. Poverty refers to the lack of resources to provide the necessities of life – food, water, shelter and clothing. It leaves individuals and families vulnerable to problems beyond the lack of basic necessities. Poverty isn’t just about a paycheck. It touches almost every aspect of a person’s life. It’s a social and economic issue that affects entire communities and all the people who live there. The impacts of poverty on a community are far reaching and devastating.
Over the past several decades, wages have not kept up with the rapidly increasing cost of living in Southern Ontario (Living wage in Niagara, $18.12 per hour in 2019). The recent economic downturn means those with financial challenges are even more vulnerable. Many people and families live below the poverty line, work several jobs to make ends meet and continue to be the working poor in our community. Many live above the poverty line yet experience financial vulnerability, and are at risk of slipping into poverty because of unstable employment, high debt, and limited savings.
It is fact that many hard working local residents are only one or two paychecks away from not being able to pay the bills, afford nutritious food, or pay rent. United Way invests in programs and services that support individuals living on a low income.
Last year, United Way investments helped 37,263 individuals living in poverty improve their situations. With your support, United Way is helping to meet the basic needs of our community’s most vulnerable people and families, giving everyone the opportunity to build a better future. This includes providing the essential building blocks of a good life such as food, shelter and employment, while also helping to ensure fewer people are vulnerable in the first place.