Poverty: No Single Cause

Credit: United Way of Alberta Capital Region

Poverty is a complex issue. It’s not about bad personal choices. It can be systemic or sudden, a turn of fortune, or a generational cycle. It can be compounded by disabilities, mental health, and oppression. And just like how there is no simple cause, there’s no simple fix either. Instead, it takes a range of solutions to tackle the symptoms and systemic issues that can cause a person to live in poverty. 

But just because it’s complex, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. United Way of the Alberta Capital Region has been investing in our local community for almost 60 years, helping hundreds of thousands of individuals have the best chance to live a life free of poverty and its complications. 

United Way looks at the big picture for the root causes of poverty, and brings together all kinds of non-profits, private businesses, government, and private citizens to work together on a coordinated approach to create lasting solutions. By pooling resources, we can create more effective solutions instead of duplicating efforts. Through this approach, we’re able to support over 100 local programs that focus on breaking the cycle of poverty, providing a safety net, and lifting people out of poverty. From early childhood development to emergency support to help pay the bills, we’re able to provide a range of services to people, regardless of what stage they are in their journey out of poverty.

Take Kaitlyn for example. She was one of many Albertans who are considered the working poor. Despite having a job, she was still unable to feed or house herself. Homeless and hungry, she was struggling just to get by.

“Saving up for an apartment was a challenge, and I felt like I would never have enough to pay for a security deposit and the first month’s rent,” she said.

But after reaching out to a United Way-funded community centre for help, Kaitlyn found a variety of services that would help her build a new path in life. She learned about financial literacy, which helped her develop a budget, become self-sufficient, and eventually save up for her first apartment.  

“Not only did they help me find a place to live, but they even stocked my cupboards once I moved in. I now have my own bed and no longer need to worry about where my next meal will come from!” she shared.

Poverty isn’t just about not making ends meet – it takes many forms and results in a loss of self-esteem, identity, and power. It’s a complex problem and affects all of us. This is why it is so important that we come together as a community. When we work together, it is amazing what we can accomplish, and can make our region a great place to live for everyone.

Article submitted by the United Way of Alberta Capital Region.

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