Why the Sprott Foundation is supporting WoodGreen’s newest poverty-prevention initiative

This is a guest blog by the Board of Directors of The Sprott Foundation

Poverty is a very real problem in this country. Right now, thanks to COVID-19, 1 in 7 people in Canada struggle to put food on the table. Even before the pandemic started, this statistic was still a startling 1 in 8. It’s clear that innovative solutions are urgently needed to help tackle Canada’s poverty problem for good. 

We have always felt that alleviating poverty starts with supporting people in a direct and immediate way. Ultimately though, we strive to support people before they need to turn to a food bank or shelter bed. That is why everyone on the Sprott Foundation’s Board of Directors is so pleased that the Foundation is financially supporting a WoodGreen pilot project, which is an innovative blend of homelessness prevention and financial empowerment, with a $1 million gift.  

Helping to stop evictions before they happen 

WoodGreen’s unique, outside-of-the-box pilot program focuses on helping to keep vulnerable people housed by assisting them to do their taxes.

Benefits and housing subsidies are tied to notice of assessments. It is crucial for vulnerable people to file their taxes and get their assessments annually. If they don’t,  they could be at risk of losing their benefits and housing subsidies, which could make their rents unaffordable, and, in turn, lead to possible evictions.

For the pilot project, announced today, WoodGreen will help vulnerable clients to get their taxes filed, apply for the correct benefits, and navigate the system to ensure they remain housed and do not fall into homelessness. Additionally, WoodGreen is going to create a small Emergency Relief Fund and a Rent Bank, which will provide a financial stop-gap for individuals at risk of losing their housing. 

Supporting WoodGreen programs is a good investment in our community 

WoodGreen’s approach, in all that they do, centres on the individual and considers the vast array of unique situations people find themselves in. That, in combination with WoodGreen’s entrepreneurial mindset — to look forward, see opportunities, and try new things — is why The Sprott Foundation is supporting WoodGreen’s Financial Empowerment Homelessness Prevention Program. We love that it is a pro-active program that demystified a system that most people find daunting, and makes that system work for people in need.  

We hope that this program will be made permanent. We also hope that other social service organizations will follow this program model and provide similar supports in their communities.

Even more, everyone at The Sprott Foundation hopes that people who access this program will know that others care about them. We want people to feel seen and heard and for these supports to provide individuals with a sense of security — because everyone needs that, especially during these challenging times.

To learn more about The Sprott Foundation, please visit sprottfoundation.com.