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Working out of poverty

To put a face to poverty is to look around at thousands of Calgarianswho are working to get by in a city of unaffordable housing, accordingto Calgary social agencies.

To put a face to poverty is to look around at thousands of Calgarians who are working to get by in a city of unaffordable housing, according to Calgary social agencies.

And Calgarian Taryne Faunt, 31, can attest to the hardships of working in a city where making less than $13 an hour just doesn’t cut it.

“I have been struggling for the past five years to get back on my feet after I had an undiagnosed mental-health problem. I have a job and a small place to live, but it’s not enough,” she said.

Faunt is a mother of three boys aged 14, 12 and eight, but she can’t gain custody back from her mother and stepfather until she has a bigger home, which she can’t afford on what she is making.

“Every single day, it’s hard. I miss them. I am trying to do what I am supposed to but this city doesn’t make it easy, and I just wish Calgary was a little bit nicer.”

The United Way’s poverty director Laureen Gilmour said Faunt is not alone; there are 110,000 to 150,000 people living in varying degrees of poverty in this city.

She also said there are between 16,000 and 20,000 families only one pay cheque away from becoming homeless.

“The misconception is that only the homeless are poor. Poverty is much more than that. A lot of people living in poverty already have jobs,” she said. “It’s just hard to make ends meet in Calgary because the cost of living is so high.”

 
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