On Monday November 20th, 2017, the City’s Community Development & Recreation Committee (CDRC) called for the Mayor to declare a state of emergency and immediately open 1000 additional shelter beds after hearing numerous groups about how the homelessness crisis is overwhelming our shelter system.

More than 5000 people use Toronto’s shelter system on any given night. Shelters are consistently above the 90% occupancy rate set by Council and shelter use by families has gone up 50% from last year. People are sleeping on the floors of churches and even the City’s own shelter referral centres to get out of the cold.

Re: Too many Cowichan children struggling

I read this article this past Wednesday with some sadness. It is not that I was unaware of the ugly statistic that our Valley has the highest child poverty rate in B.C. but rather that this shameful message needs to keep playing out time and time again — our Valley children are in need of help — our Valley children are going hungry and are powerless to do something about it and as noted by this article, hunger, poor nutrition and poverty have multiple impacts, today and in the future.

In my own view, I believe that the days of this falling on one or two or more non profits, clubs or churches doing the very best they can with often limited resources to come up individually with the solution to this problem are long gone.

One in five B.C. youth under the age of 18 were living below the poverty line in 2015, according to the latest child poverty report from First Call BC.

In Williams Lake, the percentage of children living in poverty was 21.1 per cent or 810 out of 3,840 children, while in the entire Cariboo-Chilcotin region, the percentage was 23.2 per cent, the report noted.

Tsilhqot’in National Government Chair Chief Joe Alphonse said the “high” percentage is concerning because where there is poverty a host of other issues will arise.

The South Vancouver neighbourhood of Marpole will soon serve as a home for 78 low-income housing units that have attracted considerable opposition from existing residents in the area since the location was proposed a month ago.

The modular-housing project will occupy the northeast corner of West 59th Avenue and Heather Street.

“The City understands the residents of the Marpole neighbourhood have concerns about the operation of the temporary modular housing and is committed to working with the community towards good stewardship of this site and the community in general,” reads a November 27 City of Vancouver media release.

High rents across Ontario, especially in Toronto, are driving more single people to use food banks, according to a new report from the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB).

About 49 per cent of the people who used food banks in 2016/2017 were single, compared to 45 per cent the year before, the report says. Almost all people using food banks are renters (90 per cent), according to the recently published “Hunger Report.”

The high cost of housing combined with insufficient social assistance means nearly half a million Ontarians needed to use a food bank last year, a new report says.

The 2017 Hunger Report from the Ontario Association of Food Banks released Monday shows 499,415 individuals used a food bank between April 1, 2016 and March 31 of this year.

A third of those who needed to turn to the food bank are children.

The numbers are up three per cent over previous years, the association’s executive director Carolyn Stewart told CBC.

A former child protection worker, once with the Ministry of Child and Family Development, says, in her experience, Indigenous children are largely being apprehended due to poverty, and their parents are being over policed when trying to reunite with them.

Portia Larlee started her role in communities in north central B.C. in 2015 and said she lasted a year and a half before she quit out of frustration. She said most of her clients were Indigenous.

“It was mostly neglect related to poverty that would put parents at risk of state intervention,” she explained.