Monica Morrison, a member of the Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance, addresses participants at a public forum at the Golden Circle. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Monica Morrison, a member of the Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance, addresses participants at a public forum at the Golden Circle. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer’s single parents and children at greatest risk of poverty, says report

Yet almost half of local low-income families are people living alone

Thirteen per cent of Red Deer households are struggling to get by on less than $30,000 a year.

At greatest risk are single parents and children between five and nine years old. But almost half of the 4,860 local households experiencing impoverishment are comprised of individuals living alone.

This information is part of a Poverty in Red Deer report that was released to the community at two Wednesday forums that sought feedback on how to help improve the lives of disadvantaged city residents.

The open-houses that attracted dozens of people from churches and agencies, as well as concerned individuals, were organized by the Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance (CAPRA). The group commissioned the report that involved community engagement and study of research, programs and policy direction by consultant, Bassa Social Innovations.

Among the consultant’s observations are that many Red Deerians have an “apparent fear” of engaging with the people who are experiencing poverty. Repeated concerns were expressed about the high cost of living in this community and “the irony of seemingly wealthy people…living with stress, anxiety and social isolation akin to those with limited economic means.”

There’s some agreement among people interviewed for the report that poverty isn’t just about income, but “can be a reflection of limited options due to lack of economic means, social connection or spiritual well being.”

Poverty in Red Deer charts distributions of income and shows that the highest proportion of Red Deer’s households (24.6 per cent) earn from $60,000 up to $100,000. A nearly equal portion are making either over $150,000 annually (20.5 per cent), or between $30,000 up to $60,000 (20.4 per cent) a year. And 21.5 per cent are making from $100,000 to just under $150,000 a year.

The 13 per cent of households earning less than $30,000 a year are likely to include children. In fact, the report states that proportionally, children from from 0 to 19 years are more likely to be part of a low-income households than any other age group. Kids from five to nine years old (at 16 per cent) are particularly represented.

Single-parent families make up 26 per cent of local households, and are significantly likelier to have low incomes. But 2,410 of local households living below the poverty line are made up of people living alone.

Red Deer’s affordable housing needs were found to be slightly higher than the Alberta average. The report states that about 40 per cent of people living on the South Hill “cannot reasonably afford” the housing they are living in, while 32 per cent of people living downtown have a hard time covering their housing.

The living wage, considering the cost of living in Red Deer , including taxes and subsidies, was figured to be $15.11 per hour for a single adult in 2018, $17.44 for the lone parent of one child, and $17.74 for a couple with two children.

Monica Morrison, a member of CAPRA, is concerned that single mothers, their children, and are seniors who are living on small, fixed incomes are disproportionately affected by poverty. Previous studies also found people with disabilities, aboriginals and recent immigrants to be more affected by poverty.

While this complex issue will require intervention and support at all levels of society, she’s glad to start a community conversation before the report is presented to city council later this year.

Poverty

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer city council gave initial approval for more mixed-use developments in Riverside Light Industrial Park. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More industrial landowners in Red Deer are pursuing mixed-use zoning

A third of Riverside Light could become a commercial/industrial district

Central Alberta man facing second-degree murder in connection with December death.
Advocate file photo
Central Alberta man facing second-degree murder in connection with December death

Maskwacis RCMP said female found dead in Ermineskin Cree Nation residence last December

Red Deer College has been working towards obtaining university status for a couple of years. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer College’s university status back in question

Red Deer College should be worried that its university dreams could be… Continue reading

The Mountain Cree Traditional Band headquarters in Mirror, Alta. has been the target of theft and vandalism. (Photo submitted)
Vandals strike: Artifacts worth $1M gone from central Alberta museum

AWNTB says not enough been done to deter crime in Mirror, Alta.

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Montreal Canadiens down Edmonton Oilers 3-1, sweep series

Montreal Canadiens down Edmonton Oilers 3-1, sweep series

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) loses the basketball as he tries to drive around Dallas Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein (33) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris O'Meara
Lowry leads the way as Raptors down the Mavericks for their third straight win

Lowry leads the way as Raptors down the Mavericks for their third straight win

Johnny Gaudreau’s goal and assist paces Flames to 5-2 victory over Canucks

Johnny Gaudreau’s goal and assist paces Flames to 5-2 victory over Canucks

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on Dec. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Tory MP Sloan accuses party of hypocrisy over efforts to have him expelled

Tory MP Sloan accuses party of hypocrisy over efforts to have him expelled

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 file photo Britain's Andy Murray reacts during a press conference following his first round loss to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia. Former world number one Murray's participation at the upcoming Australian Open is in doubt after the Briton tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
Australian Open arrivals hit by 3 COVID-19 positive tests

Australian Open arrivals hit by 3 COVID-19 positive tests

Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner (16) scores on an empty net and takes a hit from Winnipeg Jets defenceman Neal Pionk (4) during third period of action in Toronto on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto Maple Leafs ride dominant second period to down Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Toronto Maple Leafs ride dominant second period to down Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Roman Sadovsky wins the Challenge, his only event of the figure skating season

Roman Sadovsky wins the Challenge, his only event of the figure skating season

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, left, speaks with International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel during their meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (Nikolai Petrov/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)
IIHF pulls hockey worlds from Belarus, seeks new host

IIHF pulls hockey worlds from Belarus, seeks new host

Most Read