The top three concerns identified by residents as perpetuating poverty on the Coast are the lack of affordable housing, low wages and pension income and a lack of affordable child care.

The concerns are listed in a summary – made public by SC Community Services Society – of a meeting attended by 75 people at Roberts Creek Hall in March, as part of the provincial government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Housing was a common theme identified by nearly all participants. While housing is a concern for many on the Coast, the lack of affordable homes is particularly challenging for vulnerable groups such as young families, single parents, seniors and youth.

Another major concern highlighted was the disparity between the basic cost of living (food, transportation, utilities, child care and healthcare) and working wages that fall far too short of a living wage, identified as $19.25 an hour for a single person on the Coast.

Participants also highlighted the challenges around mental health and addiction and being able to get out of the cycle of poverty, with stigma being underscored as a significant barrier.