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The Poverty Roundtable HPE (PRT) was formed in 2013 to facilitate collaboration among community members, agencies, government and business partners, and bring together diverse views and perspectives to work toward reducing poverty in Hastings and Prince Edward counties. While the Roundtable has disbanded (November 2020), poverty remains a community issue and we encourage everyone to engage in addressing poverty where you can. 

Our Story: A brief note about the Poverty Roundtable HPE

The focus of the PRT was on increasing awareness and understanding of poverty and its impacts, facilitating and supporting collective action, ensuring that voices of lived experience are engaged and heard, and working to address public policy issues related to poverty.

Much was accomplished in the seven years. Through the Creating Community project and other initiatives, local data and perspectives were gathered and considered, resulting in numerous reports and tools that have helped many in the community, and beyond, to shape actions and responses to poverty issues. PRT members who have experienced and best understand poverty shared their insights and had input into local, provincial, and national consultations on poverty issues. Working groups tackled issues such as food security, affordable housing, and income security. Understanding of poverty has been enhanced through partnership activities in the community such as the Human Library, Jane’s Walk, and civic engagement around elections.

This work requires staff and operational funding.  At the time of dissolution, Steering Committee members had explored numerous options without finding a way forward. Despite the best efforts of former staff, agency partners, and dedicated volunteers, the Poverty Roundtable does not have the capacity to continue, without staff or operational funding. We are confident however, that while the Roundtable has come to an end, the individuals and organizations involved will continue participation in other initiatives in our communities that share the goal of poverty elimination.

This website will continue to provide access to some of the many reports and documents that have been produced through consultation within our communities, and which may continue to be useful. As well, print copies of the Leaning In and Moving Forward reports are available by contacting the Community Development Council of Quinte.

The Affordable Housing Group, which existed as the Affordable Housing Action Network (AHAN) in Hastings County for more than 10 years prior to joining the PRT in 2013, will continue their work to promote the concept of affordable housing within the community and at all levels of government. The group will continue as an independent group.


Affordable Housing Group

The Affordable Housing Group continues the work of the Affordable Housing Action Network (AHAN), which existed in Hastings County for more than 10 years, and more recently joined the Poverty Roundtable HPE as a working group from 2013 – 2020. The group is now independent and is made up of individuals, organizations and businesses working to address affordable housing and homelessness issues in our community. 

In addition to continuing the advocacy and information sharing function, the current affordable housing group promotes the concept of affordable housing within the community and at all levels of government.  Prince Edward-Lennox & Addington and Hastings County have 10 year affordable housing plans that the Affordable Housing Group will watch with interest, as they continue to be implemented and community need continues to exist. 

We define Affordable Housing as:

  • Shelter that costs less than 30% of gross household income, or

  • Rent that costs less than the average market rent for local areas as defined by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 

We define Housing First as:

  • moving people who are experiencing chronic and/or episodic homelessness to permanent housing with supports; and

  • supporting housing retention for those who are precariously housed and/or in danger of losing housing they already have 

The affordable housing group meets monthly and welcomes new members; contact Gina at Community Advocacy & Legal Centre if you are interested. 

The Homeless Hub

A reliable source of information on all topics related to homelessness and affordable housing. The Homeless Hub is a library of over 30,000 resources, curated by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, the largest national research institute devoted to homelessness in Canada. 


 Take Action

MOVING FORWARD – Recommendations for Community Action

MOVING FORWARD is the outcome of Community Conversations on Poverty in Hastings and Prince Edward counties, in which more than 500 community members came together to talk about poverty – their experience of it, what is working, what isn’t and how to end it. This community action plan belongs to all of our communities. The variety of suggestions provides food for thought and many possible ways each of us might contribute to ending poverty in our community. It is an open invitation for individuals, groups, organizations and all levels of government to get involved.

Creating Community – A Tool for Engagement

This tool was developed through work done at the Poverty Roundtable HPE’s November 2016 Education Forum – SHIFT. The forum focused on shifting perspectives to learn from those who have been in poverty and who are at the frontlines in anti-poverty work in Ontario and in their communities. The tool is intended to offer a practical approach for engaging people with experience of poverty in poverty reduction work and within organizational structures to influence programs and changes that impact them. It can be used by service providers to review and implement practices that lead to meaningful engagement within your organization.

Municipal Actions to Reduce Poverty in Hastings & Prince Edward

The Poverty Roundtable HPE was a member of the Cities Reducing Poverty nation-wide network. Participating communities across Canada are actively reducing poverty in their communities through municipal action and involvement.  What can our municipal governments do in Hastings & Prince Edward counties? This call to action for municipalities provides a number of opportunities to increase prosperity for all.

Ending Stigma: A Rights Based Approach to Ending Poverty

Without addressing systems and processes that put people in poverty we fail our neighbours and our communities. A rights based approach means that every person must be able to access their social, their economic, their cultural and their political rights. We all have a part to play in this.

 Local Consultations and Information

LEANING IN. Community Conversations on Poverty in Hastings Prince Edward

This community report on poverty is the result of an assessment of conversations held across Hastings and Prince Edward counties. The report identifies the issues, the causes, and solutions to poverty from over 400 conversations with people in our communities who know poverty from experience. The report identifies poverty as systemic and isolating, and as a factor greatly contributing to poorer health outcomes and increased stress and trauma. It speaks to the need for urgency, to the need for a rights approach, and for our community to take notice and to respond.

Rural Resiliency Report

Poverty is reaching crisis proportions in rural Ontario. Rural economies increasingly rely on tourists and seasonal vacationers (campers, bikers, boaters, fishing enthusiasts, hunters and cottagers) as local industries and family farms go out of business. Many people leave rural areas to find work, while those who stay have limited employment options. Too often the reality is hidden poverty, food insecurity, transportation problems, homelessness and under- or unserved mental health and addictions challenges.

Final Evaluation Report for Creating Community Project

Creating Community was a three-year project of the PRT, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation with the Community Development Council of Quinte taking the role of lead agency, intended to change the way our communities think about and respond to poverty.

Over the course of the Creating Community Project, the PRT undertook 4 main activities in order to facilitate the development of an innovative framework and plan which would support sustained action for poverty reduction. The four activities were:

  • People with a lived experience of poverty were engaged and empowered to lead the programs and services that affect them;
  • Multi-sector relationships were developed, and diverse voices were heard regarding poverty reduction in Hastings and Prince Edward counties;
  • A greater awareness of poverty and capacity was built within HPE communities to better understand the complex nature and impact of poverty;
  • Processes evaluated, mechanisms created and opportunities for action identified.

This report provides further information about the project and its outcomes.

Coming Together: Addressing Rural and Urban Poverty in HPE, A Conversation Circle Report

In September 2017 the Poverty Roundtable HPE, hosted by North Hastings Community Trust, held a conversation circle to talk about poverty between the North and the South in our two counties and across our many communities. This report captures the discussions that took place on what poverty looks like here and provides further areas to be explored.

Consultation: Summary of Community Conversations on Poverty in Prince Edward County

Community Conversations were held in Prince Edward County in the fall and winter of 2016/2017. Local agencies and groups hosted conversations. Conversations engaged mothers, seniors, people who are working, people on social assistance, frontline workers, and community organizers. 52 people participated. This report provides summaries of conversations and collects the community recommendations put forward in the PEC conversations.

Calculating the Living Wage in Hastings & Prince Edward Counties – 2019

A living wage is based on the principle that full-time work should provide families with a basic level of economic security above the poverty line, to be able to live healthier lives and be active in the community. Using a standard approach provided by the Ontario Living Wage Network, calculation of the local living wage was done by the Employment and Income Security Working Group of the Poverty Roundtable HPE. The living wage calculation uses a reference household of two adults each age 35, a 7-year old boy and a 3-year old girl, and is based on both parents working 35 hours a week, full-year. The hourly living wage for Hastings Prince Edward was established as $17.35 for 2019.

Living wage employers recognize workers as more than just a cost to be controlled. They are a valued part of their success, and of the wider community. While it has not been possible to calculate 2020 living wage rates that would provide a useful representation of living expenses in the coming year, it is recognized that a living wage, and employers who pay it, are needed now more than ever.

 Issue specific reports

Rights-based Approach to Housing

In April 2018, the Poverty Roundtable HPE gathered members of the Voices of HoPE Advisory Council and our Affordable Housing Working Group made up of housing providers, Hastings county staff, lawyers and people who have lived experience with inadequate and unsafe housing to discuss what a human rights-based approach to housing should look like in Canada. The Rights-based approach to Housing was submitted to the CMHC in response to the request for feedback on what a rights-based approach to housing should look like.

Community Recommendations for Social Assistance Reform

In October 2018, the Poverty Roundtable HPE and multiple community partners met with the Hon. Lisa MacLeod, then Ontario Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and Bay of Quinte MPP, the Hon. Todd Smith, then Government House Leader and Minister of Government and Consumer Services. The purpose of the meeting was to share local concerns and recommendations with Minister MacLeod as her Ministry prepared to release the province’s new social assistance strategy. Those attending included people with lived experience of poverty, community leaders and anti-poverty advocates from Hastings, Prince Edward and Lennox & Addington counties. The PRT HPE prepared Community Recommendations with the Voices of HoPE Advisory Council and with input from community consultations.

Barriers to Employment, Criminal Records

In 2016-17 the Poverty Roundtable HPE held community conversations with people who were experiencing or had experienced poverty, on the causes and impacts of poverty. Employment barriers were frequently cited as a cause of poverty, noting having a criminal record as a significant barrier to employment and a cause of long-term poverty. Preliminary inquiries, carried out with local employers in the summer of 2017, speak to both local actions that are reducing those barriers and to practices that continue to put up employment barriers. The short report provides an overview of what we heard and learned.

Payday Lending and a Call for Fair Banking

As of January 1, 2018 municipalities in Ontario can restrict the number of payday loan shops that can operate in a given area, as well as restrict the areas where payday lending shops operate. What about payday lending in Belleville? How can we move towards fair banking?