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Our guest this week is Glen Pearson. and http://glenpearson.wordpress.com/ Glen is a former professional firefighter who now serves as co-director of the London Food Bank. He also directs the NGO Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan and is a former member of parliament. Living in London, Ontario, Glen is a father of seven, including three children from Sudan
London Food Bank surpasses last year’s Thanksgiving food drive 13
The London Food Bank is ahead of last year’s Thanksgiving food drive with just two days to go, officials there say.
After Saturday’s donations were weighed, the tally came in at 18,566 kilograms – 830 kilograms more than at the same time last year.
The Food Bank’s Jane Roy said Saturday afternoon that she expected to be ahead of last year’s pace, something that’s needed with so many people in the city in need.
“It was a really good day today and a really good day yesterday,” she said. “Londoners have responded and it’s good to see.”
VITAL SIGNS STUDY: ‘We’re broken, We need to heal’
Homelessness, poverty and mental illness are slowing London’s heartbeat more than ever, the London Community Foundation’s third report on the city’s pulse shows. It calls upon a new generation of philanthropists to rise up and take notice. Debora Van Brenk reports.
- 12.8% of children live in poverty, compared with 8% in Ontario and 8.2% in Canada (2010, Statistics Canada)
- Poverty rate for all age groups is 12.3%, compared with 8.8% in Ontario and 9% in Canada
- 51% of immigrants live below the low income cut-off ($15,865 for single person or $19,308 for two people in 2010)
- 3,000 families a month visited London Food Bank in 2011. Numbers now at about 3,500 families a month
- 0.6% of seniors had income below the low income cut-off, compared with 4.3% in Ontario and 5.3% in Canada
- 8085 units of social housing in London
- Wait time for social/affordable housing is 8.2 years, or three years if fast-tracked
- Average rental for bachelor apartment is $533; for three-bedroom apartment, $1,053/month
- 360 emergency shelter beds operated at 87% capacity in 2011
- 4.2 million items borrowed from London Public Library in 2010; 4.5 million web visits; 1.3 million reference questions asked
- Average family income for recent immigrants was 62% of non-immigrant families’ incomes in 2005
- More than 50% of recent immigrants have university degree (average of Canadian-born with degrees is 22%
Coun. Dale Henderson is taking increasing heat for comments he made
Dale Henderson’s rough week at city hall isn’t over — and right now, next week’s not looking so hot, either.
Days after taking heat for calling the Canadian Cancer Society’s anti-cigarette stance “politically correct,” and making a slew of other comments, the Ward 9 councillor faces renewed flak over insults he publicly hurled at two city departments.
Henderson recently called the planning division “vindictive” in some recommendations and, for good measure, tossed the engineering department under the bus in a subsequent Free Press interview.
Those shots at city staff are also turning up the heat on Mayor Joe Fontana and, by extension, new city manager Art Zudeima.
Some council members have been quietly pushing to have one or both ensure Henderson publicly apologizes when council meets Tuesday night.
And on Thursday, the activist who helped craft city hall’s anti-harassment program took things a step further, saying Henderson’s insults suggest the culture shift making 300 Dufferin Ave. a more peaceful workplace could be eroding.
“Never did we have a council member publicly, verbally abuse a senior manager,” said Megan Walker, executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre.
“If Coun. Henderson said ‘I’m extremely concerned about this report because you missed the environmental aspect (that’s OK),’ but when you say ‘this is vindictive’ that is an attack on character.”
Survey finds number of payday loan outlets growing in London
Rent is due, the fridge is bare and the bank account balance is zero.
In a financial crunch, many Londoners turn to payday loans that offer quick bucks but with steep interest rates that begin a cycle of debt difficult to escape.
What else can you do, when then the kids need to eat and no bank is going to give you a short-term loan?
“The use of (payday lenders) isn’t predicated by irresponsibility — it’s predicated by desperation,” says Andrew Lockie, executive director of the United Way of London and Middlesex.
Now, after a survey commissioned by the United Way spelled out who uses payday loans, why and how, the city’s major banks and credit unions are getting together to figure out how best to help people before they get buried under a debt mountain.
City manager calls for collaboration to build the City of Opportunity
London’s new city manager has only been on the job for eight weeks, but he already believes in the strategic vision of the so-called City of Opportunity.
However, while speaking to approximately 300 people at London Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday (Oct. 5) at the London Convention Centre, Art Zuidema said he also understands many London residents are not seeing too many of those opportunities.
“The City of Opportunity, this is a very bold vision in my view. It is a vision that speaks to a desire for London to be a place where people can reach their full potential,” Zuidema said. “But unfortunately, I would suggest to you, if you asked them today, many people in London wouldn’t feel the city has been one of opportunity.”