The HelpingHubs

By Ritika Arora
Category: 18 to 24 years old

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Poverty in Canada

  • No official/ absolute definition
  • Detected via indicators such as low income, inability to meet basic needs etc.
  • Fluctuates from person to person (i.e. some are at a higher degree of poverty than others)
  • Specific populations/ groups at higher risk of experiencing a state of poverty
  • Gives rise to a myriad of physical and mental health conditions
  • Complex and variable

The Idea
  • Establish all-in-one hubs that cater to the specific socio-economic determinants of health within various poverty-dense communities
  • Implement local advocacy initiatives
  • Execute small-scale informative programming in community centres and libraries

What are HelpingHubs?

  • Facilities that provide a variety of health care services, on-site educational programming, employment programs, residential/ housing support, specialized support groups (e.g. recovery programs for abuse/neglect, rehabilitation services, LGBTQ supports etc. )
  • Allow individuals experiencing poverty to full fill their needs all under one roof
  • Each HelpingHub facility would be specially tailored to the surrounding community, in order to deliver culturally contextualized support to Indigenous communities and various ethnic minorities; this would be accomplished through culture-specific training of youth workers and incorporation of spiritual and traditional practices ( e.g. Sweat Lodges to facilitate wellbeing and healing)
  • A health care/ community setting solely devoted to aiding this population may also foster a sense of community and collective supportive, which may decrease the negative stigma and psychological feedback that is commonly experienced by such individuals


  • Covenant House Toronto (CHT) is Canada’s largest homeless youth agency
  • Serves about 250 youth/ day and provides all-in-one support (similar to the potential HelpingHubs)
  • 80% of operating budget comes from donors = proves feasibility of potential HelpingHubs
  • More here:
  • Thus, the nationwide poverty reduction strategy should mirror the work of CHT to some extent, as it has been very effective in holistically alleviating the stressors experienced by homeless youth


  • To educate the public regarding the realities of those experiencing poverty, in order to reduce stigma and detrimental attitudes/behaviours towards such individuals
  • Local outdoor events such as runs/walks & kite-flying events are very effective at gathering community members to support a specific cause
  • Their ability to engage large amounts of community members can also be used to crowdsource funds for the HelpingHubs

Additional programming

  • Consists of small-scale community programming such as workshops, information sessions and conversation circles
  • Currently, there is a lack of widespread knowledge regarding community tools, resources and support networks for individuals at the brink of poverty
  • Drop-in programming led by local libraries and community centres would allow such individuals to acquire resources, knowledge and support from professionals and various experts in the field
  • Examples of workshop themes: employment services, housing support, finance management support, investment programs

In summary, the national poverty reduction strategy should incorporate the following elements:

  • HelpingHubs fr individuals experiencing poverty
  • Advocacy to educate individuals about poverty
  • Additional Programming for individuals at the brink of poverty


Thank you to everyone who submitted their creative ideas to help us #ReducePoverty in Canada!

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