The cost of living in the Lower Mainland is growing increasingly out-of-reach for many families. Wages have not kept up with these costs, leading to an increasing gap between “rich” and “poor” in the area. The following data brings clarity to the nature and scope of the issue:
- BC has the second-highest child poverty rate in Canada at 16.4%, compared to a national rate of 14%.
- Food, child care and shelter costs have increased significantly over the past decade.
- The 2011 monthly cost of the nutritious food basket for a family of four in the Fraser Health district is $851. A family of four on income assistance would need more than 100% of their income for food and shelter only.
- The living wage (what each adult earner in a family need to bring home to support a family of four) for our region, as of April 2012, is $19.14 per hour, a significant increase over the $16.74 per hour rate 4 years ago. The minimum wage is $10.25/hr.
Poverty in our region is a stubborn problem with no simple solution. SHARE continues to take a balanced approach that features services that address some of poverty’s root causes and support to lessen the pain and suffering associated with poverty
Last year our three food bank depots provided food to 8,936 people; 43% of the recipients were children and youth under the age of 19. The need for support has grown by 59% since 2007-2008.
We also run a Christmas Programs, which provides food hampers for families and toys for children. Last year 2,697 adults and 2,215 children/youth received hampers and/or toys through the Christmas programs.