Two St. John’s women are organizing seniors to fight poverty among their ranks.

The two Marys — Mary Martin and Mary Moylan — are launching the Support Our Seniors on (SOS) Thursday.

Both live in the same building and said Martin, they both are divorced and raised children and don’t have a public sector pension.

About a year ago, they met through a mutual friend and began comparing circumstances over coffee.

“We’re in our 70s and still struggling to make ends meet,” Martin said.

They started looking at stats and discovered across Canada there’s a common problem of single senior women living below the poverty line.

Victoria Park’s tent city started coming down Tuesday morning, but many of the homeless campers moved their tents nearby — primarily outside Emmanuel United Church a block away, but also outside city hall.

Faced with an eviction order from Peterborough County, which owns the park, the roughly 100 residents of the homeless encampment that’s been in the park all summer started taking down their tents and moving their belongings out.

As some citizens stood on the sidewalk holding signs in support of the homeless, Kevin Nicholson pulled up his tent pegs in Victoria Park and moved to the city hall property.

“I want an apartment — I want a place to call home,” said Nicholson, 58.

Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives wouldn’t commit to a guaranteed basic income for people living with disabilities like their political opponents did at a debate on Tuesday, but said they would develop a new income model to lift people out of poverty.

Otherwise, few wedge issues materialized to separate the four parties at the debate, organized by Disability Matters Vote — a non-partisan public awareness campaign which aims to promote focus on disability issues ahead of the Sept. 10 Manitoba election. Around 275,000 Manitobans live with a disability, according to Disability Matters.

Chuck Lazenby has been working with the city’s homeless population for years. She believes things are getting worse.

“Visibility of poverty has certainly increased over the past two years. That is the significant change that we’ve seen on our streets,” said Lazenby, who is the executive director of Unity Project, a shelter in Old East Village.

Lazenby said there are many reasons things have gotten so bad, but at the core she blames lack of affordable housing.

“We haven’t had a significant push for affordable housing in our communities by prior governments. This isn’t something that was just born overnight. We haven’t set the stage to be able to get people into homes.”

An August 24 media release issued by the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) maintains that the city and province have not made enough housing units available for the large number of people who have spent the last year sleeping in the park.

“A disproportionately high number of the vulnerable park residents facing the loss of a safe and stable living situation are Indigenous,” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said quoted there. “Any move to forcefully evict them is callous and insensitive to the mental health, addictions, and poverty that they are battling as a result of an ongoing colonial legacy of systemic discrimination and oppression.”

As the Out of the Heat program winds down for the season, the hundreds of people who have relied on the service during the summer months will have nowhere to go until Out of the Cold starts Nov. 1.

Many of them will have no choice but to pitch tents in parks and remote areas of the city, once the Out of the Heat program ends for the season on Saturday, said program board member Maria Bonadio.

“A lot of people are looking for tents to kind of hunker down until Out of the Cold starts,” she said. “They’re looking for sleeping bags and tents.”

The City of Vancouver says it has moved about 127 people who were sleeping in a Downtown Eastside tent city into housing units and is now trying to get several dozen campers who’ve defied the order to leave Oppenheimer Park into shelter beds.

People have been sleeping in tents in the park since last year and as many as 200 people were thought to be camping there when the municipal park board issued an eviction deadline for last Wednesday. The majority of campers have moved into supportive housing, but city staff and BC Housing are now trying to get the remaining campers to agree to sleep in nearby shelters, according to an official update sent on Monday afternoon. The city did not provide an estimate for how many campers were left.