Richard Brown mentioned in his letter in the public forum on August 21, that 170 prominent Canadians and organizations headed by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, signed a letter calling on the federal government to make housing a fundamental human right in Canada.

The P.E.I. Coalition for a Poverty Eradication Strategy and Campaign 2000 were among the signers of that letter. It urged the Prime Minister to “make good his commitment to the right to housing by enshrining that right in upcoming National Housing Strategy legislation.” It is not enough for the Prime Minister to say that housing is a right. It must be enshrined in legislation. The Special Rapporteur to the United Nations on the Right to Housing, Emily Paradis also supported the request.

Walk down the main streets of any B.C. community today and you will see examples of poverty and homelessness.

While we all have a lot to say on the matter, little of that conversation is happening with children, who may not understand why someone would sleep in the streets, says Jillian Roberts, child psychologist and professor of educational psychology at the University of Victoria.

A published children’s author with the Just Enough series tackling difficult-to-discuss topics for preschoolers like death, reproduction, divorce, and prejudice, Roberts decided her next series should look at issues outside the home.

The problem with the anti-poverty statement is that it includes no new poverty reduction measures: not one dollar in additional spending, no commitment to a social safety net for those currently living on the streets, no repairs to the broken employment insurance program which is unavailable to two-thirds of workers, and no mention of the near poor — the millions of people struggling to survive with barely enough.

The anti-poverty strategy is not a strategy to reduce poverty: it is a public relations vehicle that takes the CCB and bundles it with an assorted selection of spending promises — mainly for the distant future — to improve housing, add child care, increase incomes for seniors, and better life for Indigenous people.

The federal government released Canada’s first-ever poverty reduction strategy last week, calling it a historic plan to ensure all Canadians can achieve their full potential.

The strategy lays out the goal of cutting the rate of poverty in half across the country by 2030. If it delivers on that promise, it would mean lifting more than two million Canadians out of poverty. That’s certainly a worthy goal.

The strategy basically pulls together all the government’s previously announced programs to reduce poverty. There are no new policies and no new funding commitments to improve or speed up current programs.

The government has simply pointed to its $22 billion in previously announced spending for programs, including the Canada Child Benefit, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and a tax befit for low-income workers.

As food insecurity persists in the London area, it’s becoming clear it affects more than hunger.

An article published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry points to a connection between food insecurity and the use of mental health services in Ontario.

About one in eight Canadians experience food insecurity. Those who experience severe food insecurity, missing meals or even going days without eating, were much more likely to receive mental health treatment compared to food-secure adults, the article states.

The Trudeau government says it can raise more than two million Canadians out of poverty by 2030, and do so without any new spending or policy commitments.

We suggest Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos reach out to David Copperfield. The services of the world-famous illusionist may be needed to pull off this feat.

An open letter to the Prime Minister is highlighting Canada’s housing shortage and challenging the government to take a new approach to the problem. The letter, signed by over 170 organizations and prominent Canadians urged the Prime Minister to follow through on his commitment to make housing a human right. The NDP is calling on the Liberal government to address the concerns in the open letter after bringing the issue to parliament earlier this year.