In my 30 years of working as a nurse in acute care hospitals and the community, I thought I understood poverty because people who live in poverty experience a disproportionately high number of chronic diseases and lower overall health status resulting in higher use of the health-care system.

That said, it wasn’t until I spent a year with the Cape Breton Community Housing Association as part of the Housing First Team that I really understood just how devastating the poverty situation in Cape Breton Regional Municipality really is for the people who are living it every day.