Sometimes people in marginalized or impoverished situations get invited to participate in surveys, group sessions and focus groups. What I wonder is, who are these data collection gatherings actually for? In theory, the basis is to help the marginalized and/or impoverished to receive better access to the necessary services. Of course, these services are in fact defined by social and government designs. What does this mean? Well for me - being considered "marginalized" or “living in poverty,” I get to participate in the process that will inevitably help me maneuver through the system. A system designed with bias.
For the last 14 years, the Edmonton Coalition on Homelessness and Housing organizes a Homeless Memorial to honour those who have died due to the effects of homelessness in the last year. I was first asked four years ago to share my personal story of how housing changed my life after living homeless for many years. I spoke two years in a row and each time I emphasized what I would like to see change for my fellow neighbours experiencing homelessness.
Livable income has been identified as one of EndPovertyEdmonton’s Game Changers — actionable items we as a community can undertake to effect real change for those experiencing poverty. The central tenet of livable income is succinctly put by Kevin Kent, founder of the Knifewear Group of companies: “People who work full-time should not live in poverty.”
I believe poverty is the biggest barrier for people with disabilities. Poverty prevents people from a happy, healthy and positive quality of life. It can make a person feel worthless, alone and like they cannot achieve or attain the things they want to in life - or at least that is how it has made me feel.