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SENDZIK: Action needed to conquer poverty

SENDZIK: Action needed to conquer poverty

SENDZIK: Action needed to conquer poverty

By Walter Sendzik,  St. Catharines Standard –

First, I want to applaud the St. Catharines Standard for its continued coverage of poverty in our community, including its impactful Faces of Poverty series.

Through the lens of media, our community has been given greater insight into the challenges faced by far too many people in St. Catharines.

As I have stated many times, poverty isn’t other people’s problem — it’s in our neighbourhoods, it’s in our schools and it’s in our workplaces.

It’s a growing issue we simply can’t ignore.

While the solutions to eradicating poverty are complex, we all have a role to play and that’s the starting point for the Mayor’s Poverty Reduction Initiative, bringing together advisers to find solutions.

Since taking office, I have attended a poverty summit in Ottawa that included people working in organizations focused on reducing poverty from across the country.

The summit provided a foundation for my approach moving forward. It was made very clear at the summit that the greatest impact comes from efforts that are focused.

I have also met regularly with individuals living in poverty, to gain further insight into what role the city can play in breaking the cycle of poverty.

Along with these individual meetings, I have been working with a group of people to help those living within the poverty cycle. This group of advisers is not a committee, it’s not a panel — it’s composed of people who have provided further insight into what role the city can play within this complex web of poverty.

More important, they are challenging me as we work through concepts that can be a part of the solution.

For far too long in Niagara we have held forums, struck committees, hosted roundtables and talked about the issue of poverty. Yet the number of people living in poverty continues to grow.

So while people have the right to be critical of my approach, I ran on a promise of fresh thinking and new ideas. That’s how I am approaching the issue of poverty in our community, and I can assure you that I will be listening to those living in poverty, those working on the front lines of poverty, and those who are taking innovative approaches to eradicating poverty.

The only measurement of success I will follow is the one that has a direct impact on the lives of those living in our community.

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