Kids in Saint John are living in crisis: make sure they have a safe, affordable home and a warm bed!
This petition had 699 supporters
“kids are hungry. They live in substandard housing, with little or no heat, and sometimes, no beds. They aren’t healthy. They don’t have winter coats. They’re living in crisis... All of this puts learning on the back burner.”
I have not been able to get those words out of my head since I read them in a Telegraph Journal article on October 17th entitled Children are Hungry, Unhealthy and Cold: the Reality of Poverty in Saint John.
1 in 3 children in Saint John lives in poverty—in the city’s third ward, it is 1 in 2 (49.5%). With a child poverty rate of 31%, Saint John has the highest rate of child poverty among major cities in Canada—it has remained stubbornly high, increasing from 28.9% in 2006, to 31.0% in 2013 (based on taxfiler data, using LIM-AT).
This petition is calling for all three levels of government to respond to child poverty in our city like the crisis that it is. It is calling for a response like the one described by Dr. W. Barry Miller in his commentary (full text here).
Dr Miller says we have a state of emergency on our hands and that “It is imperative that each level of government demonstrates leadership and addresses this crisis.” He further explains that resources used to address this crisis must be seen as an investment:
“We know there will be financial implications for all levels of government. This should never be seen as expenditures without a return. Any money spent will certainly be an investment in these children, their future and our society. We will all reap the benefits. We have children in need depending on our response. They cannot help themselves; they need us to be their advocate. Let’s do it.”
Yes, let’s do it!
Municipalities should use their ability to regulate land use to encourage and facilitate the development of mixed income neighbourhoods, and help develop programs, in partnership with non-profits and neighbourhoods, to facilitate the establishment of affordable housing. Importantly, they can also be our advocates!
The province should use its jurisdiction to ensure a sufficient supply of affordable, adequate housing. This means more rent geared to income subsidies through an increase in social housing, as well as non-profit and co-op housing; significant investments in renovation and retrofits to restore substandard housing; adequate resources to fully enforce regulations and the obligations of landlords to provide safe and healthy housing.
The federal government should provide national leadership and financial resources to ensure that the rights of our children are realized.
Universal Children’s day is November 20th; this is the day that The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which Canada ratified in 1991.
Under this convention, children have the right to a decent standard of living. This means they should have food, clothes, and a place to live. They also have the right to help from the government if they are poor or in need.
November 22nd is National Housing Day. Housing is the foundation for a healthy, happy life.
Housing insecurity during childhood is linked to chronic health conditions, food insecurity, and barriers to education. It is a basic need. It is a human right. It is the foundation for a healthy life. Without the foundation of a safe, stable, affordable, and heated home, it almost impossible to move forward. How can you work towards a more decent life when you are constantly in crisis? How can you even finish high school?
Too many children in our community are living without the stability of a home base that is safe, affordable, and adequate. Too many children are being denied their rights to learn, play, and develop. We must act now to address this crisis.
Sign out petition to tell our elected officials you want them to respond to this crisis, and that ensuring access to a safe, adequate, affordable place to live and a warm bed to sleep in is a good place to start.
Today: Saint John Community Council on Homelessness is counting on you
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