This year marks 25 years since the unanimous House of Commons resolution to end child poverty in Canada. But in Alberta, child poverty rates are virtually unchanged. According to a report released Monday by the Alberta College of Social Workers, Public Interest Alberta and Edmonton Social Planning council, rates have only decreased 0.2 per cent since 1989, and the net number of children living in poverty has increased by 28,670 after population increases. Edmonton alone has more than 100,000 people living in poverty, 27,000 of which are children.
Adrienne, 50, never thought she would be poor. She'd always worked, spending nine years as a cashier in a grocery store and raising four children with her ex-husband in B.C. But when her recent relationship turned violent after an argument last February, she found herself running out of options.
She qualified for Income Assistance, which is $1247 a month, but quickly found she couldn't keep up to her rent. After she fell behind, she was given 48 hours to vacate their townhouse in October. Since then, she and her son John have been living in a motel room. The transition and upset of routine was stressful for John, who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The government is paying for their stay, so her monthly benefits have been reduced to $701 a month for food, transportation and all their other needs.
Adrienne is looking for a better place to live that will fit her limited budget and plans to go back to work but is currently a part of a transitional program for women who are escaping domestic violence. She says if poverty can happen to her, it can happen to anyone.