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Cumberland County supports guaranteed livable basic income

Cumberland County is sending a letter of support of the Poverty Reduction Advisory Committee to both the provincial and federal governments in support of a guaranteed livable basic income.

A resolution was passed at a recent Atlantic Mayors Congress advocating for a national guaranteed livable basic income and the resolution was passed onto the poverty reduction advisory committee, which has representatives from the Municipality of Cumberland and the towns of Amherst and Oxford.

The resolution says the growing social crisis and impacts of poverty have downstream effects on municipalities, putting unsustainable pressure on their limited resources to deliver necessary public services and social supports as they struggle to keep up with downloaded responsibilities.

It suggests basic income addresses key social determinants of health, such as income and housing, it can alleviate pressures on municipalities to address poverty and fill gaps in social supports, such as shelter, housing, food security and mental health. Research and pilots show that when people have a sufficient and secure income their mental and physical health improves; they have the capacity to secure more affordable, suitable, and safe housing, childcare, healthy food, and transportation; and poverty rates decrease.

The resolution says the provision of a guaranteed livable basic income would benefit individuals, families and communities and protect the most vulnerable in society, it would also support community resilience by facilitating the transition to a local economy that responds to the climate crisis and other major challenges. Evidence shows that a federally funded basic income that improves people’s financial stability is possible, as successful income transfer programs already exist in Canada for seniors (Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement) and parents (Canada Child Benefit (CCB).

Also, the Poverty Reduction Advisory Committee was provided a report on the homeless situation in Cumberland County. From there, the committee recommended that each of the councils of Amherst, Oxford and Cumberland be asked to consider a meaningful financial contribution toward an emergency shelter.

Council has directed staff to develop a report on the interconnectivity and roles of various groups working to remediate homelessness in Cumberland County.