November 23, 2011
The Edmonton Social Planning Council, Public Interest Alberta and the Alberta College of Social Workers released a new report today entitled In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta. This report shows the number of children living in poverty rose dramatically from 53,000 to 73,000 in just one year (from 2008 to 2009).
“Almost half (47%) of these children living below the low income cut off (LICO After Tax) are living in families where the household works full time hours for the entire year, yet they are still living in poverty, ” says John Kolkman Research Coordinator at the ESPC and the main report author. “The recession has plunged thousands more families with children into poverty. While existing government transfers have helped many families, we see far too many people falling through the cracks.”
“With one in four employed people in Alberta making less than $15/hour, we are seeing increased levels of poverty as many families are not able to keep up with increasing cost of living,” says Lori Sigurdson, Professional Affairs Coordinator, Alberta College of Social Workers. “Women in particular are being hit hard by poverty in both two parent households (poverty increased to 8% of two parent households from 3.4%) or as single parents where 16% of all lone parent families are in poverty.”
“This report should be a very serious wake up call to the Redford government that they can’t just sit back and expect the economy alone to support Alberta families,” says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “We know that Alberta has the means to invest in a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy that can prevent, reduce and ultimately eliminate poverty in Alberta. What has sadly been lacking is the political will to support Alberta’s families.”
The In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta report also presents many recommendations that would benefit not only those individuals and families living in poverty, but will have a very positive impact on strengthening our communities and our economy.
John Kolkman – Edmonton Social Planning Council, 780 423-2031 (ext 350)
Lori Sigurdson – Alberta College of Social Workers, 780 421-1168
Bill Moore-Kilgannon – Public Interest Alberta, 780 993-3736 (cell)