Imagine grabbing a sandwich and pop then learning it will cost you more than $30.

How about purchasing a loaf of bread for $15?

The hole in your wallet is similar to what a person on social assistance currently feels like with his/her annual benefit of $8,472 per year. That amount includes a monthly allowance of $330 and a further $370 per month for rent.

Sault Ste. Marie District Social Services have launched a video demonstrating the difficulty and reality for people experiencing poverty in Sault Ste. Marie to purchase healthy food.

To run the awareness campaign, social services worked local grocer City Meat Market, and increased grocery prices five times their current price for one hour on June 22. Hidden cameras were used to capture the reactions of shoppers paying for their items.

The town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is looking for ways to cope with a growing number of transient camps on its back trails.

“We’ve noticed it escalate over the last two summers, and this summer in particular it’s escalating yet again,” Mayor Jamie Snook said.

“A lot of the individuals have addictions issues. There’s homelessness at play at times. There’s mental health. There’s no easy answer.”

Vibrant Communities Calgary and Basic Income Calgary will be hosting a Community Conversation about basic income through the lens of food insecurity on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. at the Alexandra Centre Society (922 – 9 Ave S.E. Calgary).

Keynote speaker Dr. Lynn McIntyre will discuss a series of policy studies that support a basic income guarantee as a promising solution to food insecurity in Canada. The keynote address will be followed by a panel discussion with Dr. McIntyre, James McAra, CEO of the Calgary Food Bank and co-chair of the Enough for All Food Dignity Constellation, Mary Salvani, a member of Disability Action Hall and a long-time community advocate, as well as Carole Carpot- Lacassagne from the Women’s Centre.

Laval is determined to turn its ugly duckling into a swan. It will raze condemned low-income houses in Val Martin and intends to turn that section of Chomedey into an attractive place to live for people of all incomes.

“The bulldozers will go to work south of Notre Dame within the next two weeks to build the first 124 of 357 planned new social housing units,” Mayor Marc Demers told The Suburban.

“When we were elected [in 2013], we discovered that more than 50% of those houses had been abandoned,” the mayor said in an an interview. “Mold had permeated the walls, which made them unfit for human habitation, since the air inside could make people sick.”

City crews will start clearing the area as part of a major, $30 million investment to spruce up the district, change streets and add green space, before home construction commences at the beginning of 2018.

A women’s shelter is getting some help from the Town of Okotoks in finding land to expand its second-stage housing.

Rowan House Emergency Shelter approached the Town to request assistance in securing land suitable for transitional housing as women leave the High River shelter, and Mayor Bill Robertson brought a notice of motion to have Town administration act as a point of contact between Rowan House and developers in July. The motion to assist the emergency shelter was passed on Aug. 21.

Sherrie Botten, executive director of Rowan House, said it’s exciting to be taking the first step to establish a second-stage housing for women and children fleeing domestic violence. She said Okotoks is the most suitable location for transitional housing.

Having to deal with some people who were trying to set up tents in the back of our building recently, I became a bit angry at our city’s inaction on this issue.

We went down and chatted with them and they left immediately. Great.

But why is it that we, as residents, have to deal with this?

Why doesn’t the city have action-oriented policies and teams to deal with the increasing numbers of homeless people here?

Let’s look at what’s unfair to who:

Not Fair: workers who are forced to work two and three jobs just to put food on the family table

Not Fair: families who cannot afford preventative dental care

Not Fair: workers who are forced to go to work sick because they cannot afford the time off with no pay, which also affects the health of their co-workers

Not Fair: working a full day and still having to go to a food bank because workers can’t afford groceries and rent

Not Fair: families who can’t afford prescription drugs to restore their health