United Way leaders identify Housing Security, Income Security and Inclusive Employment, Inclusive Communities and Support for the Social Services Sector as social issues of focus.
CORNWALL (July 6, 2022) – United Way leaders from across Ontario addressed an open letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet yesterday morning calling for close collaboration to alleviate a multitude of social issues plaguing the province. From Sault Ste. Marie and Cornwall to Hamilton and Windsor, the leaders recommended four issue areas to focus on together — Housing Security, Income Security and Inclusive Employment, Inclusive Communities, and Support for the Social Services Sector — to address the unignorable hurdles to a strong and vibrant Ontario, especially through the current crisis of affordability.
“The alarm around the urgency of this crisis in our region has been sounding for months, if not years. A crisis that sees individuals sleeping outdoors on park benches every night in Cornwall, a crisis that has parents loosing access to their children because affordable and adequate housing options cannot to be found in our region, and a crisis that pushes too many individuals so far into despair that mental health issues and addictions take a deep hold. It is only through unified efforts to work with governments, corporations, institutions, donors, and non profits right here in our region, but also across the province, that we have any chance to react to this crisis nimbly, and with the impact that is required to save lives.” – said Juliette Labossière, Executive Director of UWC SDG
Since the beginning of shutdowns and still today, Ontario’s United Ways have been working with elected leaders, integrating networks of agencies and cross-sector partnerships to identify priorities, escalate concerns and share resources to support those most disproportionately impacted by poverty — Indigenous, Black or racialized peoples, people with disabilities, those living in low-income neighbourhoods, 2SLGBTQ+ people, women, newcomers, seniors, and people experiencing homelessness.
Frontline partners at agencies funded by United Ways across the province are reporting record- high numbers of community members needing supports, and an increasing complexity of issues facing both urban and rural communities. In addition to meeting basic needs, public policy changes are necessary to address unaffordable housing, low-wage jobs, precarious employment, and mental health challenges to counteract the deepening poverty across the province. The leaders also warn that growing anti-Indigenous, anti-Black, and anti-Asian hate and Islamophobia further widens the poverty gaps and calls for concerted effort to build more inclusive communities.
United Ways across Ontario acknowledged positive steps made by the government through specific public policy like the Homelessness Prevention Program and the $13.2 billion dollar child-care agreement with the federal government but encourage Premier Ford and Ministers to do more. The letter recommends specific action such as expanding affordable housing options, establishing a living wage, hiring more addictions and mental health workers, improving access to services and initiatives focused on underserved, equity-deserving communities, and to work with the community services sector in a united way.
About United Way/Centraide Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry: The United Way of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry is governed by a local Board of Directors, who, with United Way staff and volunteers help to raise funds that assist agencies throughout Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. Our mission is to improve lives by working together with priorities focused on moving people from poverty to possibility, healthy people, strong communities and all that kids can be. For more information on United Way/Centraide SD&G, or to donate, visit unitedwaysdg.com.
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