Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

CALLING ATTENTION TO THE ISSUES – Seen left to right at this morning’s news conference are Kristina Craig, Ulrike Wohlforth Levins, Kerry Nolan, Sharon Stewart, Maureen Johnstone, Hannah Zimmering and Bill Thomas.

Poverty and Homelessness Action Week begins

With a focus on lived experience,

By Stephanie Waddell on October 15, 2018

With a focus on lived experience, the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition (YAPC) and those with Voices Influencing Change program kicked off the annual Poverty and Homelessness Action Week at a downtown park this morning.

The Voices Influencing Change program saw participants with lived experience learn more about sharing their experience and story with others.

“There are voices in our community that need to be heard,” said Kerry Nolan, who was a co-facilitator in the Voices Influencing Change program.

“We are encouraging those with lived experience of poverty, homelessness, food insecurity and more to participate in this election by engaging with the candidates and sharing their story.

“We want the municipal government to understand the needs of all the citizens of Whitehorse.”

Recently, the coalition hosted a successful ‘Tea at YAPC’ event. Residents had an opportunity to meet candidates running in Thursday’s municipal election.

That saw a number of residents with lived experience share their stories and concerns with candidates.

That’s in addition to a list of questions provided to each candidate.

The coalition is planning to make the responses available on its website.

YAPC’s executive director, Kristina Craig, said she expected the coalition and new council will get together to discuss major issues once the new council has been sworn in.

Along with noting the efforts underway around the municipal election, Craig also pointed out it is the graduates of the Voices Influencing Change program who were tasked with planning the events set for the annual action week, rather than having officials with the organizations do the planning.

“It became, I think, a lot more real,” she said.

It means those who have faced homelessness, food insecurity, poverty and other issues have been able to direct the events for the week to emphasize the issues that are important to them.

As Ulrike Wohlfarth Levins stated, “I would like to influence change.”

Similarly, another graduate of the program recalled the work in the program to look at their lives and “unpack it.”

Sharon Stewart said it provides an opportunity to look at who you are from another perspective.

“We challenge you to consider what your story is,” she said.

Over the course of the week, events are set to include a sock drive, a bake sale and the Chew On campaign, which draws attention to poverty and hunger.

Also set are a CBC radio book panel, the release of the Free Food Calendar and presentations on lived experience at local high schools.

Articles written by those with lived experience are also set to be released in local publications.

A Whitehorse Connects event, which connects those in need with services in the community, is also scheduled for Oct. 23.

Comments (5)

Up 20 Down 1

north_of_60 on Oct 16, 2018 at 5:16 pm

The comments hit the nail on the head. It's never been about actually solving the problem, it's really about cultivating a crop of perennial homeless and poor for harvesting government grants. Living off the homeless is a big business in Canada, especially in the North.
Of course the problem could be solved if every one of those do-gooders took a homeless person in to live with them. Oh right, that's someone else's responsibility.

Up 14 Down 6

Doug Ryder on Oct 15, 2018 at 9:40 pm

The gravy train feeds the well-heeled masses. The current economic system cannot exist in a state of relative equality. There must be winners and losers and ones in between to keep everyone in check.

Without the anchoring effects of a class system life would be chaos. There is no socialist utopia that does not in practice become dystopian.

Up 27 Down 2

John on Oct 15, 2018 at 6:38 pm

Agree psg. Anti poverty coalition is more focused on getting funding to do more studies . Yukon Housing, do more studies, tell everyone what we already know. Meanwhile, those in need stand by and watch the ridiculous circle. Our company donates directly to those in need, we don't study what's already obvious, and we don't work with " paid" volunteers or govy workers.

Up 21 Down 1

BnR on Oct 15, 2018 at 5:28 pm

More talk.
And talk. And talk.
People form committees, and organizations and NGOs, but nothing really gets done.
You know why? Because no government wants to commit to the heavy lifting needed to really end poverty and its associated conditions.
It's going to take time and lots of money and commitments to free education etc. But no gov, fed or territorial is going to commit to that because they would get voted out the next election.
And that's that. So, keep having meetings and wringing hands and asking municipal candidates how they feel about this, it makes great photo ops.

Up 31 Down 5

ProScience Greenie on Oct 15, 2018 at 3:25 pm

The homeless industry spends millions on itself with pennies on the dollar going to actually help those in need. Something has to change to actually make that money go further instead of feeding bloated departments, NGOs, consultants and contractors. These people mean well but time to get them off the gravy train.

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