July 30, 2012

"Poverty and Inequality..most powerful determinants of health..."

Here is an insightful letter to the Globe and Mail editor regarding the recent Council of the Federation meeting.

30 Jul 2012
The Globe and Mail Metro (Ontario Edition)

Health-care iceberg

    The Council of the Federation and its health-care-innovations working group have suggested useful measures to reorganize purchasing, health-care delivery and evaluation (Premiers Take HealthCare Reins – July 27). But they can be accused of reorganizing the deck chairs while ignoring the iceberg: Persistent poverty and inequality are the most powerful determinants of health status and, therefore, health-care expenditure. The federal government has increased the size of the iceberg with its eligibility restrictions on Old Age Security and Employment Insurance.

    Canadian physician and health analyst Michael Rachlis estimates that poverty accounts for at least 20 per cent of all health-care costs. The premiers ignore this at their peril.

    No one remembers the crew of the Titanic for making service more efficient by reorganizing deck chairs, but rather for causing a disaster by ignoring reality. – Sid Frankel, Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba 

July 26, 2012

Award Winning Program Provides Hope and Home

"You feel very, very, very alone. You don't know who to reach out to. But now when you know, you don't feel so alone anymore. You think maybe there is some hope, maybe I can solve this problem."
Keri, a participant  in MCCO's Circle of Friends program, travelled to Toronto to receive a Canadian Urban Institute award as part of a delegation from Waterloo Region's innovative STEP Home collaborative.

Keri spoke about the dramatic transformation in her life from the time she first connected with Circle of Friends when she was at the YWCA Kitchener- Waterloo's emergency shelter -- Mary's Place -- to her life today. An apartment, a roommate, a car, a laptop. "Wow. I never thought I would have all this again."

Circle of Friends is part of the STEP Home collaborative, "a set of 12 interrelated programs in Waterloo Region designed to end and prevent persistent homelessness and foster respect, hope, home and community."

The Canadian Urban Institute selected STEP Home as one of "Eleven individuals and groups have been chosen as the winners of this year’s Urban Leadership Awards program for making Canada’s cities healthier, safer, and more dynamic places to live and work."

STEP Home won the award for Innovation. "This award celebrates new technologies, programs or ideas that advance research, celebrate diversity, propose to solve urban problems or advance opportunities for innovation in a creative, entrepreneurial and ethical manner," states the Institute's media release

"MCC Ontario is proud to be part of the STEP Home collaborative," states Rick Cober Bauman, MCCO's Executive Director. "We know that Circle of Friends has made a real difference in the lives of the women and children who have been participants. And we also know that Circle of Friends provides social benefits and savings to the broader community. Circle of Friends is one of the ways MCCO responds in the name of Christ to needs of people in our local community. And the partnership with STEP Home makes Circle of Friends stronger."