Poverty Costs website launches

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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The Poverty Costs campaign has begun, with the Saskatoon-based Upstream Institute for a Healthy Society launching its official website on Sunday, at www.povertycosts.ca.


A screenshot from povertycosts.ca. 

Last month, society director Ryan Meili outlined the effort to the Daily Herald, explaining that the institute has estimated that poverty costs the Saskatchewan economy $3.8 billion per year.

These are "additional costs because we're not being successful in dealing with poverty," he explained at the time.

"What we're really hoping for - and this is the reason for crunching the numbers and starting a program called 'Poverty Costs' - is that people take into account both the human costs with people having to deal with the suffering that comes with poverty ... but also the economic costs.”

The website provides a comprehensive view of what poverty looks like in Saskatchewan, including a sprinkling of various statistics.

According to the State of Saskatoon Housing Update report of 2006, nine per cent of rented households were considered overcrowded.

Children raised in low income families are three times more likely to be chronically absent from school due to illness or injury than middle to high income children, according to the website.

In 2010, there were 99,000 people living in poverty in Saskatchewan.

People in low income neighbourhoods are 398 per cent more likely to get diabetes, 138 per cent more likely to contract chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 134 per cent more likely to contract heart diseases, and 185 per cent more likely to face mental illness.

The website’s intent is to raise public and government awareness, Meili said, noting that poverty should be seen as non-partisan, with no need to blame the government. 

With the website’s launch, a series of public and government consultations are expected to begin. 

Organizations: Daily Herald

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Housing Update

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