Thousands of Households Living in Poverty Across Fort McMurray

Thousands of local individuals and families are in danger of becoming homeless.

That’s according to the Poverty Reduction Network – Wood Buffalo who are highlighting the number of residents living paycheck to paycheck as part of Poverty/ Homelessness Awareness Week.

Around 4,000 households are believed to be below the average cost of living which is around $100,000 in Fort McMurray.

PRN Co-Chair Jo-Anne Packham tells Mix News if these people lose their job, get in a car accident, or get sick it could cause them to lose their homes.

“Often those are the things we see clients come to our door with and programs like at the Salvation Army, family community services, the Centre of Hope are mainly set up to work with families who are struggling but a lot of families they’ve seen are because of those reasons.”

One of the bigger concerns revolves around the number of children living in poverty.

“We know that one in three children in Fort McMurray are experiencing poverty and one out of every two children in the rural areas are living in poverty, so this is staggering and very concerning,” added Packham.

The PRN notes over 170 homes were foreclosed in 2019 and around 160 in 2018. Packham believes this year’s total could be worse as the region continues to face multiple adversities.

“Hard to discern whether they are COVID impacts, flood impacts, fire impacts but obviously our community is still reeling from all of these events.”

She adds one of the best ways to help end poverty is to continue supporting local non-profits such as the United Way, Salvation Army, and Centre of Hope.

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