UNIGNORABLE Poverty | Halton and Hamilton

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Halton & Hamilton

Breaking the Cycle

Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child they won’t be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent they won’t be able to support their own child’s learning. This intergenerational cycle makes social mobility and a fairer society more difficult.

The youth unemployment rate in Halton was 12.8 per cent as of 2013. In Hamilton, the youth unemployment rate sits at 14 per cent.

Lower wages, fewer hours of work, decreasing access to permanent jobs and more time unemployed between contract work likely account for the youth unemployment decline of 50 per cent since 1976.

Education plays a role in determining if youth are successful in their job search. The employment rate for those with no certificate, diploma or degree was 33 per cent in 2015, where youth with a certificate, diploma or degree was 71 per cent.

Many of the jobs available to youth is considered precarious.

Looking only at unemployment masks the underlying issue of the working poor. Currently, 30,000 working Hamiltonians still live in poverty. Average expenses for a family of four in Halton including food, shelter and transportation are $5,482/month, which is unachievable for someone working precariously or part-time.

United Way Halton & Hamilton is working on multiple fronts to break the vicious cycle of poverty. Our investments help individuals and families in crisis access basic needs like food and shelter, while also helping them develop knowledge and opportunities to increase their long-term stability.

Halton Region Health estimates over 6,300 Halton families are food insecure. In Hamilton, it is estimated approximately 35,000 residents don’t know where there next meal is coming from.

In a month’s time frame, over 12,000 people in Hamilton accessed a food bank; 4,500 were children. In Halton, over 77 per cent of food bank users were unemployed.

Poverty affects every aspect of life. It could be the choice between paying for food and affording rent. In a Hamiton Food Share study surveying food bank clients, 87 per cent of respondents said they would sacrifice their own food so their children could eat.

Single parent households and those on social assistance are at the greatest risk of being food insecure. In Hamilton, food insecure individuals are 23 per cent more likely to experience anxiety over adequate food supply, and food insecure individuals are a staggering 121 per cent more likely to miss meals, eat inadequate food and go hungry.

United Way Halton & Hamilton is working on multiple fronts to break the vicious cycle of poverty. Our investments help individuals and families in crisis access basic needs like food and shelter, while also helping them develop knowledge and opportunities to increase their long-term stability.

Although interventions funded through United Way may not be sufficient to overcome poverty completely, they are designed to help people experiencing poverty develop plans and prepare for a better future – to move from poverty to possibility.

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