City councillors, in a vote of 11-to-2, have backed the mayor’s 50 million dollar, 10 year poverty reduction initiative.
Fred Eisenberger says it’s about supporting those who are being left behind even as Hamilton continues to “drive hard on economic development”.
The mayor adds that some of his motivation is having lived in poverty within the McQuesten Neighbourhood for most of his youth and the lack of progress in the 40 years since then.
Anti-poverty crusaders filled council chambers in support of the motion.
Sulema James, who is raising a child in Westdale, is especially pleased with a focus on mixed income neighbourhoods.
James says she didn’t want him to grow up thinking daily crime and generational poverty was “the norm” and “what he should strive for”, adding that “our bank accounts don’t define us”.
The Good Shepherd’s Katharine Kalinowski adds that the “untenable contrast” between growing prosperity and the deep poverty that many citizens are living in, creates “a moral imperative” and “call to action”.
The five million dollars needed each year to fund the initiative will be borrowed from the Hamilton Future Fund and hydro merger revenues.
Voting against the strategy were Lloyd Ferguson and Donna Skelly, who worry about a lack of details and spending city cash on a federal and provincial responsibility.
They also worry about a lack of details on how the money will be spent.