With so much wealth in the world, why is there so much poverty? Poverty slows the development of all societies, and it’s obvious that we should try to eradicate it, but it still seems intractable. How can we put poverty behind us? And what does our attitude towards poverty and social mobility tell us about who we are? A discussion from the Stratford Festival.

Social justice lawyer Fay Faraday talks about some of the factors around the problem of poverty.

I’m sure you’ve seen the guy who sits in front of the garbage cans at Guy-Concordia metro, with his “Kindness is not a weakness” sign leaning next to him and a perpetually empty Tim Horton’s cup at his feet. He’s there everyday, quietly asking for change or a meal.

Around Remembrance Day, another man appeared in the metro station to collect donations and give out poppies. In a surprising twist, the people who never before had change in their pockets for the man begging everyday were able to produce quarters and loonies for the poppies.

Most people rarely give money to panhandlers and are uncomfortable having homeless people loitering in public places. When fewer homeless people are visible, we don’t ask questions about where they went—we are just relieved the metro station is a little calmer. So it’s not a surprise to me that Montreal has anti-homeless infrastructure, because it teaches us that homelessness is best kept out of sight and out of mind. But problems don’t go away by ignoring them.

BC’s current minimum wage is a poverty-level wage. Over 400,000 British Columbians work for less than $15 per hour—or 22 per cent of all paid employees in the province. The majority of these workers are women (59 per cent) aged 20 years old and over (78 per cent) and work full-time (54 per cent). Most are full-time adult workers and are likely to experience poor health based on their low income status. There is no question that BC’s current minimum wage contributes to BC’s high poverty rate of 14.8 per cent in 2015—the highest in Canada. Although we live in a wealthy province, BC leads the country in working poverty.

Catching families just before they head to an emergency shelter — and providing them some intensive help — prevented most from falling into homelessness over the long term, a new London study has found.

At least 90 per cent of families offered help through the novel research project remained housed 18 months later, the study by the Lawson Research Institute, Western University, the city of London and Mission Services of London concluded.

“They did fantastic. It is a very good news story,” lead researcher Cheryl Forchuk said Monday as the results were released.

The renewed version of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign to lift poor people is holding its first national mobilization, with actions and events planned Monday in 32 states and the nation’s capital.

Poor people, clergy and activists in the Poor People’s Campaign plan to deliver letters to politicians in state capitol buildings demanding that leaders confront what they call systemic racism evidenced in voter suppression laws and poverty rates.

I wrote [sic] regarding Yvonne Earle’s letter, “A better way to cut health-care costs,” The Telegram, Jan. 26.

Did you know Canada remains the only country in the world with a public health-care system that does not cover the cost of prescription medications? Canadians remain with a fragmented system with inequitable drug coverage.

Medication is an essential component of a full range of treatment for some individuals living with physical and mental illness and disabilities.

Cornerstone on Leon Avenue in downtown Kelowna is halfway through its temporary mandate as a low-barrier homeless shelter of last resort.

And while some of the shelter’s neighbours don’t much like it, there’s no denying the 80-odd residents would be gracing Kelowna’s streets if it were not available.

“All our shelters are full. The Gospel Mission is full. Alexandra Gardner is full. Inn from the Cold is full,” John Howard executive director Gaelene Askeland says. “Just do the math.”