Face of poverty on Vancouver Island changing to include more middle-income families

Face of poverty on Vancouver Island changing to include more middle-income families

WATCH: One of Vancouver Island’s biggest charities says its job is becoming more and more difficult. The United Way launched it’s annual fundraising campaign today and as Kori Sidaway tells us, the number of those who need help in our communities just keeps going up.

The United Way is kicking off their donation campaign Wednesday. It’s an annual appeal, one some organizers say is even more urgent this year.

“Poverty doesn’t have one face, it could be this face,” said United Way’s campaign chair Al Hasham.

“It could be the face on the street that you walk by, it could be the person sleeping outside, So, poverty doesn’t have one face, and you never know when you’re going to need help.”

The United Way supports organizations like the Mustard Seed, and the food bank said it needs the help.

“This is usually brimming, and it isn’t today,” said Mustard Seed Street Church volunteer Janette Goodwin.

Staff at there say they see the price people pay for Victoria’s affordability crisis, every day.

“We are seeing more and more middle-income families starting to come through our doors,” said Janiene Boice, Mustard Seed’s director of development.

“The cost of living is incredibly high in Victoria, your rent doesn’t ever cover what people are making in a month and you’re asking people to feed their children on that? It’s tough!”

More and more Canadians are feeling the pinch. In fact, one in five Canadians will visit a food bank over their lifetime, with British Columbians being no different.

“I know real estate is going up 10 or 15 per cent per year, and the people really affected by that are the middle-income families,” said Victoria resident Kevin Campbell.

“The cost of everything has gone up so much! It’s shocking that’s the state we’re in!” said local Ellie Moller.

And as a result of the rising cost of living, the face of poverty is changing.

United Way says they’re seeing a new ‘working’ poor, where more people are forced to decide between paying rent or eating.

“We’re a rich country. We’re well off. We shouldn’t be in the position in the first place where we have to be asking for that type of help. It should be livable wages to start,” added Moller.

The United Way’s goal is to raise $5 million in this years campaign.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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