WHEREAS more than a billion of our fellow men, women, and children are currently subjected to the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, and that the best way to participate in a global effort to eliminate these conditions is through a local grassroots initiative to eliminate poverty locally; and
WHEREAS in 2001 20% of children in Niagara lived in poverty with an overall poverty rate of 17%, equaling 68,000 people; and
WHEREAS it is estimated that the poverty rate in the Niagara Region will reach 20-25% in coming years; and
WHEREAS the average household income in Welland is more than $10,000 below the average of the Niagara Region and yet in terms of generosity to social causes Welland’s citizens are leaders in giving; and
WHEREAS the City of Welland recognizes that cooperation with the other 11 lower-tier municipalities and the Regional Municipality of Niagara, is of the utmost importance to the success of a campaign to alleviate local poverty; and
WHEREAS poverty is defined as a lack of access to, or control of, resources, basic infrastructure, and services, a feeling of powerlessness, voicelessness, dependency and social humility, and the experience of barriers to maintaining cultural identity; and
WHEREAS the four key areas of poverty reduction are (1) affordable housing; (2) living wages; (3) mental and physical health; and (4) public education; and
WHEREAS those facing particularly severe challenges locally include unemployed youth between 16 and 24 years of age, single-parent low-income families, workers of 45 years and older, people with mental and physical disabilities, and recent immigrants who are underemployed and underutilized as a result of complicated and expensive accreditation processes; and
WHEREAS the City of Welland recognizes and appreciates the poverty alleviation efforts of other municipalities across Ontario, Canada, and the world, as well as the tireless efforts of local groups, schools, and churches, and services such as the Hope Centre, Open Arms Mission, Salvation Army, Tanguay Place, kNOw Poverty, Social Justice Committee, and Habitat for Humanity; and
WHEREAS the City of Welland accepts as a core value to foster a sense of belonging for all individuals and groups in our community, to enhance the well-being of all individuals and families through economic development that is considerate of the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, and to be both fiscally and socially responsible in all efforts and actions.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WELLAND supports the elimination of poverty in the City of Welland and the municipalities of the Regional Municipality of Niagara as a starting point for the larger provincial, national, and global targets for a world wide elimination of poverty; and further
THAT Welland City Council, through implementation of its Strategic Plan, commits to the creation and maintenance of healthy communities and to improving the quality of life for all citizens of the City of Welland; and further
THAT Welland City Council supports and commends community efforts which focus on the elimination of poverty both locally and/or globally; and further
THAT Welland City Council directs that this “Proclamation For the Elimination of Poverty” be approved and posted on the City of Welland website, and circulated to the Regional Municipality of Niagara and the lower-tier municipalities for similar endorsement.