Did you know that District 69 reports higher unemployment than other BC regions?

That single parent families in our region have lower incomes than other BC regions?

That when it comes to housing, nearly half of renters in our region spend more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities — that is if they can even find housing!

Your SOS has known for years that the lack of affordable housing is one of the main reasons that people fall into poverty, or even worse, homelessness.  And once there, it is often difficult to find a way out.

That is one of the reasons your SOS has been providing emergency financial assistance and advocacy to low-income residents for so many years.

Over the past 14 months, we have seen the devastation this pandemic has had on the lives of  residents.  People who have lost their jobs, and those with minimum wage jobs, have all struggled to afford the high costs of housing.

So when we were approached to be the service provider to use revenues collected from Online Accommodations Platforms (OAPs) to help struggling local workers in the service and tourism industry, we knew what a difference it would make.

By providing some rent relief to residents in the form of emergency housing subsidies, workers would be able to breathe a little easier knowing they could provide for their families.  If you would like to learn more about this important community partnership, click here.

Yes, the lack of affordable housing is one of the main reasons we have so much poverty in our area.  In fact, 16% of local residents aged 18 – 64 are considered low-income.  And that number will only grow once the government subsidies that have been a life-line for so many people, eventually end.  That’s when we will fully realize the devastation this past year has caused.

But there is a segment of our population that has had to carry one of the biggest loads over the past 14 months.  That is women.  And in particular working moms, especially single moms.

With Mother’s Day just a couple of days away, I wanted to highlight how COVID-19 has impacted their lives and honour the sacrifices they continue to make during these challenging times.

When schools were closed and families had to adapt to virtual learning, it was usually the moms who had to juggle working from home while learning how to home-school their children.

Others had to leave the workforce altogether to care for their children, with no certainty of ever returning to a job again.

And for families with elderly parents, it was more often the woman who carried the responsibility for ensuring their loved ones were cared for.  And they did all this while dealing with their own stressors and exhaustion.

That’s why your SOS has always made a commitment to supporting families experiencing hardship.  Even though current restrictions don’t allow us to resume our Child, Youth and Family Programs in person, we are still here for them.

We’ve been checking in with families and providing assistance and additional resources when needed.  And we’ve been delivering home-cooked meals, snacks and activities to children, youth and families — a welcome relief to busy and tired moms.

Experts are already seeing that the disruption caused by the pandemic in schools, pre-schools and daycares will have a negative effect and could delay a child’s language and social skills, not to mention the impact on their mental health.

Experts also predict that it will take years for women to make up the ground they have lost by leaving the workforce in terms of pay equity and opportunities for advancement and growth.

The aftermath of this pandemic, that we are not out of yet, will be felt for years.

So, on this Friday before Mother’s Day, I ask you to join me in honouring the women in your life who have made a difference during the most challenging of times in our lives.  Let them know that what they do matters.  That they matter.

Then let’s work alongside them to rebuild our community, for our children, for our grandchildren and for all those who will turn to us in need, now and in the future.

Warmest regards,

Susanna Newton
Executive Director
Society of Organized Services

250-248-2093 | www.sosd69.com