Reality of poverty is largely obscured

More than 11,500 Red Deerians live in poverty, trying to claw out a life in relative obscurity.

More than 11,500 Red Deerians live in poverty, trying to claw out a life in relative obscurity.

Day-to-day survival is different for them than the majority of people in the region.

Just affording the basic necessities of shelter, food and clothing is sometimes insurmountable.

It is a reality that the Central Alberta and Capital Region United Way branches, in conjunction with the Poverty Reduction Alliance, were trying to impress on 70 local citizens on Wednesday at the iHotel in Red Deer during a poverty simulation.

“It was important to bring members of the community who maybe aren’t as familiar or as well versed in understanding what these experiences are like to have the opportunity to experience and to reflect upon the parts they might play to make a difference in their neighbourhood in their place of business, in their Central Alberta Community,” said Lori Jack, community impact officer with Central Alberta United Way.

Each participant was given a profile and the morning to figure out how to make life work for a month.

Each profile was different and ran the gambit from two-parent households to being homelessness. The simulation went beyond trying to balance a budget. Participants had to figure out life — like getting children to school in the morning, where their next meal was coming from or even finding shelter. They had to deal with different agencies, of which there were 20 volunteers playing roles, and try to survive along the way.

Central Alberta does have a number of programs to aid those in poverty, but Jack says it takes an entire community to improve the issue.

“To reduce poverty it’s not about delivering more programs, it’s about changing some of the systems that are creating barriers for people that are living in poverty,” said Jack.

Of the 11,500 Red Deerians living in poverty, about 2,300 are children, and it is estimated there are thousands more throughout Central Alberta.

Jack said studies show a single person requires a full-time job paying them at least $10.21 per hour to meet their basic needs in Red Deer, and those numbers only go up once children are involved.

A two-parent home with two children requires both parents to make at least $13.11 per hour, while a single parent needs to make $14.75 per hour.

Minimum wage in Alberta is $9.95.

One of the biggest employers in the city is the service industry or retail, and according to Statistics Canada, an average wage in the province in that line of work is $18 an hour for men and $14.75 for women. There is also no guarantee of it being full-time work.

“Alberta is a very rich province, we have oil and gas and lots of trades that pay a decent wage, and that of course drives up all the prices in housing and rentals,” said Jack. “However one of the higher industries here in Red Deer is retail, and those wages do not keep pace with those wages in those other industries.”

jaldrich@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Manslaughter charge laid against Red Deer man more than a year after homicide

A manslaughter charge has been laid against a Red Deer man, more… Continue reading

Woman facing charges after pedestrian critically injured in hit and run

A woman is in custody in connection with an alleged hit and… Continue reading

Friday hail storm came at a bad time for farmers

Amount of damage a hail storm does often depends on how far along crops are

Concern growing over poor hay crops

Hay yields in some areas half of what it was last year

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Man suffers critical injuries, Red Deer police arrest woman in pedestrian crash

A man is in hospital with critical injuries and Mounties have arrested… Continue reading

Cull hasn’t been able to solve bunny burden in Alberta mountain town of Canmore

CANMORE, Alta. — Problems persist in an Alberta mountain town overrun with… Continue reading

Canada should help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany: civil liberties group

OTTAWA — A civil liberties group is urging the Canadian government to… Continue reading

Westerner Days: Send us your photos

Your reader photo may just make the pages of the Adovcate.

Adam Henrique signs $29.1M, 5-year extension with Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Centre Adam Henrique has signed a $29.1 million, five-year… Continue reading

Fashion firms upend design routine to focus on speed, trends

NEW YORK — Prototypes? Passe. Fashion company Betabrand saw that knitwear was… Continue reading

Trimming and tidying: Perennials need care too

The great attraction in growing perennial flowers is that you never have… Continue reading

Johnny Depp settles lawsuits involving former managers

LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has settled lawsuits with his former business… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month