Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIN 211.ca - opens in a new window

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIN

What we do

Four workers from a frontline community agency pose in front of a white delivery van.


Fighting local poverty

We love where we live, but poverty is hurting our community. There are more people living in poverty in the GTA than anywhere else in Canada. That means we're not harnessing all the potential of our community, not living up to the promise of an inclusive GTA, and ultimately hurting our economy's bottom line. We believe that every person in every community deserves the opportunities, access and connections they need to build a good life - regardless of their income, the neighbourhood they live in, or their social identity.

Some of the issues underlying poverty in our region include an increasingly precarious labour market, a lack of affordable housing and neighbourhood infrastructure, and systemic racism and discrimination in the economy and everyday life, all of which make escaping poverty very difficult. We know that in Peel, Toronto and York Region, Indigenous, Black or other equity-deserving groups are disproportionately impacted by poverty, and many of whom are living in low-income neighbourhoods. To combat poverty, inequality and racism, we need to work with neighbourhoods most affected by it, and address barriers for people most impacted by it.

We fight local poverty by supporting the people impacted by it and the neighbourhoods they live in. And we do it by building and strengthening a network of agencies that is the GTA's social safety net.

Poverty shows up geographically. We do too.

Apartment buildings in the cityPeople experiencing poverty are increasingly concentrated in neighbourhoods and geographic areas across our region – those located outside of the downtown core that lack critical social infrastructure and which are poorly served by transit. Healthy places boast a rich mixture of cultures of residents, safe streets, abundant green space, and social infrastructure of community services and programs. But many areas in our region do not offer these assets.

We can’t fight poverty without advancing equity.

Anishnawbe Health Toronto giving COVID-19 vaccines outdoorsWe know that poverty impacts some groups more than others. Young people, Indigenous people, racialized people, immigrants, women, and those with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty and face significant barriers to getting out of poverty.  Indigenous and Black people specifically have faced historical disadvantage whose impacts continue to be felt today.

 Solving poverty is complex.

Rexdale Community Hub sign of different services they offer
To meet urgent needs and change the systems that enable poverty, we focus our work in 13 different, yet interconnected issue areas:
  1. Aging in Community 
  2. Community Building
  3. Early Learning and Parenting
  4. Food Security
  5. Gender-Based, Intimate Partner and Family Violence
  6. Housing and Homelessness
  7. Inclusive Employment
  8. Living Independently
  9. Mental Health and Addictions
  10. Middle Years
  11. Settlement
  12. Youth Development
  13. Social & Systems Change 

Our Approach

GRANTS: Beyond meeting immediate and emergency needs, we sustain and support a network of local agencies that deliver essential services and programs to move people out of poverty. Our granting expertise is also harnessed by philanthropic and government partners to direct funding where its needed most.

CONVENING: We connect business, government, labour, community organizations, institutions, and residents of our region to meet complex needs and build stronger solutions to change the systems that enable poverty.

RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY: We focus on understanding how poverty works and act on local solutions, including those identified by community members. Through our research and advocacy on public policy we tackle the unignorable issues that provide a path to resilience and opportunity for people experiencing poverty.