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Image of the group of people involved in the #HackPoverty initiative

#HackPoverty celebration

In April, we celebrated the ongoing work of the #HackPoverty Initiative and one year of our #HackPoverty Working Groups collaborating together.

What is #HackPoverty?

If you are not familiar with the #HackPoverty Initiative, two years ago YSM President & CEO Angie Peters invited leaders from key sectors across Toronto to come together and identify areas for tangible and actionable change in the lives of single parent families living with poverty. The event was co-created and led by an advisory group of people with lived experience of poverty.

Action plans to end long-term poverty in Toronto

Ultimately, this half-day event led to the formation of three working groups that could begin to develop actionable plans for change in Toronto in the areas of Community Supports, Housing, and Income & Benefits. The working groups met regularly this last year; each group was co-chaired by a person with lived experience of poverty and a leader in the relevant sector.

This spring, all three groups reunited at YSM for a celebration of their accomplishments to date and their commitment to identifying breakthrough solutions in the coming year.

“We often live in a polarized society, but what this group has taught me is that we all value similar things,” says Akosua Alagaratnam, Executive Director of First Work, an Ontario organization bridging the gap between jobseekers and employers. “We all want to solve these issues. It’s refreshing and exciting – I’m really looking forward to what’s next.”

This story originally appeared in YSM’s summer 2024 Urban Lights.