A campaign has been launched to make poverty reduction a priority in the community.

No Money for Food…Cent$less, by the Porcupine Health Unit, aims to advocate for income solutions to help reduce food insecurity.

“What we’re trying to do is let people know that food charity is really not an option. It’s not relieving food insecurity in Ontario or Canada but really food insecurity is a poverty issue,” said Victoria Hall, public health dietitian.

The 2018 Winnipeg Street Census revealed some startling facts about homelessness in the city.

After surveying approximately 1,500 people experiencing homelessness on April 17 and 18 it found that 61.2 per cent of respondents identified as Indigenous and 65.1 per cent are male.

The survey, which was conducted over a 24-hour period, found 38 per cent of respondents live in absolute homelessness, meaning outside or in a shelter, and 60.2 per cent are provisionally accommodated.

In terms of age, anyone under 16 was not surveyed because they are below the age of consent. The median age of people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg is 39, and 367 of the survey’s respondents are under 29. The survey found 20 seniors; aged 65 or older are experiencing homelessness.

The number of homeless people in Kelowna has increased 23 per cent in the past two years, a new report says.

A total of 286 people, one-quarter of them Indigenous, were identified as living in a homeless shelter or sleeping rough on the streets during a count conducted in March.

And the length of a typical homeless person’s stay in a shelter has increased from 192 days to 241 days, or about eight months, from 192 days in 2016.

Top reasons for homelessness, according to the report conducted by the Central Okanagan Foundation, are addiction issues, household conflict, illness or a medical condition, job loss, and being unable to afford rental rates.

Canadians are fortunate to live in one of the world’s better countries, but we delude ourselves when we claim to be living in the best — or even one of the best.

Not when more than a million Canadian children — 15.1 per cent or one in seven of them — are living in poverty, many thousands bereft of adequate nutrition and health care.

Not when the OECD ranks Canada 15th– third last — among the 17 leading industrialized countries in the extent of its child poverty. (The OECD gives Canada a C grade, not much lower than the D grade given the last nation on the list, the United States.)

Not when children in millions of Canadian households are living in sub-standard, crowded, poorly furnished housing conditions.

Not when 21 per cent of single Canadian mothers have to raise their children while living in poverty.

Not when Canada still lacks the national, accessible, affordable, high-quality child-care system that prevails in most European countries.

John Clark knows how to live rough. He’s been doing it off and on for much of his life.

Clark currently lives in a tent on a wooded piece of property in an industrial area of Napanee.

He’s a familiar face around town, recognizable for his outlandish outfits and interesting modes of transportation (a powder-blue suit, a snorkel and bright orange sarong, his pink bicycle, roller blades) and his unique way of wandering: chasing a ball with a hockey stick up and down the streets of town, sometimes chatting away to himself, sometimes humming. Always jovial.

Clark was evicted from his apartment in October 2017. He lived with his sister for two months during the winter but then came back to Napanee where his friends are. He’s lived in foyers and staircases and on friends’ couches, but he’s been in a tent for the past few months.

The realtor trying to sell the property which once housed the Victorious Living Centre Emergency Shelter says the City of Owen Sound should have acted faster to enforce bylaws to take down a tent city.

Dennis Herman of Remax Grey Bruce Realty has the listing for 748 2nd Avenue East in the city’s downtown and says protesters have been allowed to make camp there for too long.

“If these homeless people set up anywhere else in the city they would be arrested,” says Herman, adding “The mayor, councillors, city managers, bylaw, everybody — they’re spineless. If I did this I’d be arrested. Gone to jail.”