In 2011, 12 percent of Londoners were living in poverty, despite some having a roof over their head. This was a 6.4% increase from the year 2000, also important to note, was 32% higher than the national average.
In London the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen. Poverty is one of our community’s most pressing issues. With staggering unemployment due to the fall of London’s large manufacturing sector, we have seen the extensive effect of this pattern in different areas, for example, child poverty, psychological wellness, housing, and adult education.
Edgar and Joe’s café was home to the launch of the “Who’s Joe?…I am Joe” campaign last night. Located in London’s SoHo area, Edgar and Joe’s is a gathering space and food operation with a social purpose. Many organizations and individual volunteers from the London community got together to kick off London’s first campaign to end poverty.
Among the speakers was Detective Constable Jim Pottruff, who discuseed how poverty in London is a major catalyst in making people vulnerable to the sex trade. Constable Pottruff is a Detective Constable in the Major Crime Section with London Police Services. Goodwill’s president and CEO, Michelle Quintyn, who organized the event, says, “There’s a lot of awareness and need to build compassion towards the areas we are talking about.”
Michelle added that Goodwill doesn’t have any current initiatives towards ending prostitution and human trafficking. However, though the initiatives haven’t kick-started, Michelle says the company’s work towards ending poverty is the first step towards eliminating all 3 of the issues.
“We open the door towards people trying to achieve their potential. We help them realize that they can be what they want to be. We also are very committed to re-shaping the negative attitudes. Changing that thinking is going to change the way we accept and embrace the people who feel silenced in their community.
Other organizations at the event included London’s Abused Women’s Centre, the Bridges Out Of Poverty group, and the Child & Youth Network. Though the organizations are all unique, they all seemed to agree on one thing. It’s time to end poverty and to build a London where everyone can participate in everything this great city has to offer. Let’s have this conversation with more Londoners starting today.