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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Take the Poverty Challenge!

Would you take the Poverty Challenge?  Could you live on the amount
allocated to someone on social assistance, pro-rated for just one week?
(This amount is about $37 for a single adult, after only rent and phone
costs are paid).

Once again, Ottawans are taking the Poverty Challenge, trying to live on
social assistance rates for a week.  The Challenge is part of Poverty
Awareness Week - see www.povertyawareness.ca - running from Thursday, March
1st to March 8th, 2001.

Join us!  Try the life of a poor person for a week.

It is an opportunity to live in solidarity with the poor and gain a much
greater sense of the struggles involved in living in poverty.  Over 150
people have tried it so far, and found it a very revealing experience,
including politicians, media personalities, business people and students.

Contact Andrew at AVanIterson@centretownchc.org, or 233-4443, ext. 2211, to
register and receive a Poverty Challenge package, or for any further

There will be a special Closing Dinner for Poverty Challenge participants
("optional potluck" style) on Wednesday March 7th, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., at
Centretown Community Health Centre, 420 Cooper St.

The Week and the Challenge are being organized by the Poverty Awareness Week
Committee, composed of community members living in poverty, and
representatives of community agencies, including Centretown and Somerset
West Community Health Centres.  This year, groups from across Ottawa are
organizing separate events and public outreach activities.

For information on other events, please check www.povertyawareness.ca.

Thanks for your interest,

Andrew Van Iterson
Coordinator, Poverty Awareness Week

NOTE:  The $37 figure is based on monthly Social Assistance rates (unchanged
since a20% cut in l995) of a $325 Housing Allowance, and $l95 for all living
expenses.  The $37 was calculated based on an average 4 1/3 week month,
assuming that the total rent costs no more than $325, and deducting $30 for
a monthly phone bill.

If you could find rent (& utilities) of under $325, and had no phone, you
could have $45 per week.  This still must cover everything, from food to
transportation to clothing to entertainment, etc.

(You cannot "save" money with a lower rent, but higher rental costs come out
of your other funds.)

Also, while the Challenge does provide an opportunity to "walk in someone
else's shoes", we do not pretend that one week of living within such
economic limits can encapsulate all the struggles and hardships involved in
living day-to-day in long term poverty.

Andrew Van Iterson
Poverty Awareness Week Coordinator
Centretown Community Health Centre
(613) 233-4443, ext. 2211

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