To understand how a mom with a newborn and a toddler can end up living in their car in a place like Kelowna in 2023, we must first understand how we see poverty and the lines that define it.
Our current system doesn’t reflect the cost of living per capita when determining these poverty cut off lines, therefore leaving thousands of Mamas in the Okanagan at a disadvantage due to their perceived adequate income as compared to a national average. This is compounded by pervasive misunderstandings of accessibility, affordability and eligibility for subsidized/low income housing.
The income line is too low for most to be eligible, and when they are eligible the waitlists can span years. As we know, the interim options available for $1000 a month are akin to relative homelessness.
While we know that 1 in 5 children live in absolute poverty in BC, we don’t really talk about what that actually means. We don’t talk about the brutal fact that for the last 19 years in B.C., 1 in 2 kids from a lone parent household has lived in absolute poverty falling under the approximately $20,000 household income (still1in5.ca). Based on what we know, this equates to 50% of kids in BC from a single mother or father household were facing housing and food insecurity on a regular basis before the age of 6.
This also means that right now, at least 50% of children with a single mom or dad are at risk of homelessness in your own community.
“Today I call upon all of you, every global citizen, not to forget. We must seize this opportunity to demonstrate
that we share a common humanity and that it matters who my sister or brother is. We must never reduce the issue to statistics.”