Nanaimo has a serious problem with poverty

Gordon Fuller —  June 28, 2010
Letter to the Editor: The Daily News

So once again B.C. tops the provinces for the highest child poverty rates in Canada.

Since coming to power in 2001, the provincial government has ensured this dubious and continuous honour for British Columbia.

While the child poverty numbers may have dropped across B.C., it is important to note the statistics this is based on are from the boom times of 2007, they in no way reflect the reality of today in Nanaimo.

At 9% Nanaimo has one of the highest unemployment rates in the province. This is based on employable income assistance and employment insurance recipients.

It does not take into account the many income assistance recipients categorized as persons with persistent multiple barriers, persons with disability or the many families that are exempt from searching for work if they have a child under the age of three.

With all of the above we are looking at over well over 13,000 people.

Nanaimo’s overall poverty rate, when one takes into account low income cut offs, the income a person or family needs to be categorized above the poverty line, or based on a person or family spending more than 30% of their income on housing, would put poverty rates at close to 50% for the population in Nanaimo.

Don’t get me wrong, and lest I paint too bleak a picture, Nanaimo is a great place to live overall and its citizens would likely be well above average when it comes to volunteerism and giving back to the community.