Among the many facets of our mission at United Way, one of our priority areas is moving people from poverty to possibility, which is why it was so timely that we discovered an article at on fighting poverty.

According to a report from the National Council of Welfare, billions of dollars could be saved by tackling the roots of poverty with long-term investments rather than short-term spending.

This comes after it has been proven that the annual public cost of poverty is $25 billion a year and the poverty rate is not decreasing. Whereas, the long-term preventative approach would save taxpayers emergency health care, prison and shelter costs in the long run.

This plan does require larger, initial funding, but with a far greater and more permanent pay-off. Many people fear that spending money on poverty comes at a cost to other people and services; however, the report argues that reducing poverty benefits society and not just those in need.

For instance, health care pressures would be alleviated and there would be higher literacy and numeracy levels and that would in turn benefit the economy. In addition, crime would be reduced and doing so in this way is more efficient than passing tough crime legislation.

For almost four decades, supporting member agencies has been an integral part of the important work carried out by United Way of York Region (UWYR). Together with our donors and volunteers, we’ve been working to improve people’s lives by funding agencies and programs, both urgent and preventative within the community – and working towards building a strong network of people helping people.

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