5 Questions about Poverty: Hampers for Health, part 2

This is the second part of Heather Howard’s answers to our five questions about poverty. Heather works with Hampers for Health. Heather speaks about poverty from a very personal perspective.

What are some of the changes you’d like to see – from a policy perspective, from a community perspective?

I think low income housing needs to be overhauled and the healthy and safety issues of housing accommodations looked at and dealt with. I think ALL food banks should be following Food Banks Canada’s standards regarding the food that gets donated….no one should be receiving food 4-6yrs past their best before dates even though the head of Agriculture says “it’s a food quality issue not a food safety issue”. I’m sorry – so when the company that makes the product is telling  you not to eat it – when DOES it become a safety issue?

I also think that social assistance needs to take in to consideration the fact that people DO need vehicles to get around, especially in rural NS and they DO need phones and should allow for a bit of money for those. I also think that they should be considering the Food Costing information and providing families with the amount of money needed to buy necessary food and clothing….in other words…give enough money so you can actually buy all the groceries you need for the month without having to also use child tax.

What’s the biggest myth or misconception about poverty that you would like to change?

hahahaha…this could be another long winded answer. I guess that poverty only exists in third world countries – that all homeless people are losers/druggies/etc; unfortunately for any real change to happen, people need to release their stigmas. Just because someone has a cell phone and is at the food bank does not automatically mean they are abusing the system.

Thinking about a determinant of health, what is the connection to poverty?

From personal experience – education, and income/social status….not to mention having to live in  physical environments that create health issues because you cannot afford to move elsewhere.

From work experience – I think social support plays a major role. Communities are not as linked as people seem to try to portray them. Most upper class around the [Annapolis Valley] stay as far away from the lower class as possible..it’s a sad truth that people are so blinded by the stigma they were taught by their parents years ago that they just cannot see the truth; and so, in turn exhibit similar stigmas towards anyone of a lower status then they. Many young families as well struggle because they do not have good family support to depend on, coming from broken homes, or having moved away.

Thanks so much Heather for your thoughts and perspective. Next up…going out of the rural areas and into the city. See you with a new posting tomorrow!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>