IMPACT

'Week Of Action Against Poverty' Is Grass-Roots Movement With Legs

02/11/2012 12:34 pm ET

One city is making the extra effort to raise awareness about poverty.

In Kenora, Canada, a group of volunteers gathered to pin hundreds of red bows together to pass out for the Week of Action Against Poverty, a grass-roots movement that began six years ago that hasn't stopped growing, Lake of the Woods Enterprise reports.

And with each tie of a bow and snip of a ribbon, a reminder of how small acts can do big things.

“I think (its success) has something to do with the fact that it’s grassroots,” Nan Normand, the co-chairman of anti-poverty advocacy group Making Kenora Home, told Kenora Daily Miner and News. “Individuals decide what they want to do, how they want to do it and who they want to benefit.”

Making Kenora Home is doing its part -- offering a place for residents to post their own events as a sort of public forum for fighting poverty.

So far, more than 20 events for raising awareness of and fighting against poverty have been planned. All of which, Normand told the Daily Miner, have helped bridge a gap between how poor are perceived in Kenora, and how that perception has transformed into welcoming the impoverished into a broader community.

“Economic and social development are not exclusive,” she said. “Beyond things, there are qualities that attract someone to the community. This is the difference between a transient industrial town and a sustainable hometown."

In particular, the ribbons represent a need for affordable housing for low-income residents -- the latest push in poverty awareness for Kenora.

“It’s about low income people trying to get their own home,” People First president Russell Havill told LOTW Enterprise. “The ribbons bring awareness to people in the community about poverty and the need for affordable housing.”

A 2010 report from Intraspec stated that the homeless count in Canada is about 150,000, though that only includes those living in emergency shelters. Other estimates suggest the homeless figure to be between 200,000-300,000 people, including roughly 65,000 young people.

This year, the Daily Miner reports that the first set non-profit housing in decades will be built through a collaboration between Habitat for Humanity and the Kenora Affordable Housing Group through Aamikkowiish.

Take Canada's lessons and apply them at home through organizations such as Feeding America. Click here to find out how to get involved.

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