After the British Colombian Supreme Court shut down the homeless camp in Victoria, the media has been awash with discussions about the actual state of poverty in that particular region of Canada. Looking at statistics, it is alarming that the problem of poverty and homelessness is a sad reality in what is viewed as one of the most self-sufficient nations in the world. Quite a significant number of people in Victoria are living on or below the minimum wage. It is indeed the poorest area in Canada. The following is a brief overview of how bad things are and the ramifications of poverty in Victoria, Canada.
Statistical analysis of the situation
According to facts and figures from sites like q-squared.ca and recent studies, including Out of Sight’s ‘Policing Poverty in Victoria,’ one in every five children are struggling with poverty. The child poverty rate in Victoria stands at 18.6%. Single parent families are the most affected with their numbers rising from 21.5% to 48.9% in between 2010 and 2011. In terms of income, many families in Victoria live on an income that is less than the Statistics Canada Poverty line figure, of about $35,000 a year. Around 1300 homeless people living on the streets have had confrontations with law enforcers in public spaces recently.
Measures taken to address poverty in Victoria
So far, a lot has been done to reduce poverty, particularly through government and NGO program initiatives. The provincial administration in Victoria has pledged to set aside $26 million to create shelter units. The government has also shown commitment to increase income assistance and disability payments to the destitute. Civil rights advocates are also pushing campaigns that emphasize housing as a basic human right. Reports and findings have also been instrumental in smoothening the relationship between the police and homeless groups. Legislation is being drafted to help increase benefits for work-related injuries. Organizations like VCAP have also been helpful in promoting equality and self-esteem by protecting the poor from incrimination.