In recognition of Poverty and Homelessness Action Week

I rise on behalf of the Yukon Liberal Party to pay tribute to Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, which ran from October 16 to 22. Since 2005, this week has raised awareness for the plight of hunger and homelessness throughout community engagement activities.

As mentioned, this year’s theme was food security as a pertinent issue for us in the north. We all know our lifeline to the south may be very fragile. Food insecurity in the Yukon is a concern that affects us all. The need for programs to help fight food insecurity has steadily been rising in Whitehorse. According to the Whitehorse Food Bank’s monthly statistics, 585 households in our communities needed to use the food bank in September, and this is an increase of 11 percent from September of last year. Much of this need is attributed to the rising cost of living here in the Yukon.

The Anti-Poverty Coalition has spent the last week hosting a number of events to help raise awareness of hunger issues here in the community, including a food bank receipt challenge and a bring-a-blanket, leave-a-blanket movie night. This year’s campaign was also used to call upon the federal government to create a national strategy to address poverty across Canada.

I had an opportunity to speak with the keynote speaker Jonathan Bird this week and to discuss his ongoing efforts to build sustainable food networking in Vancouver and his experiences managing affordable housing projects — a fascinating conversation. His approach to creating a food network where everyone is engaged in all of the steps of the process and creating a hands-up approach is something that we can absolutely support. This is taking the concept beyond just a soup kitchen and into a community working together for food security for us all.

I would like to thank many of the organizations for their hard work in helping our community and the needs of our community. The Whitehorse Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity Yukon, Salvation Army, the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, Maryhouse, Blood Ties Four Directions, the Boys and Girls Club, the Watson Lake Soup Kitchen and the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition for their ongoing efforts.