June 24, 2011
Media Release

Human Services Planning Board of York Region launches Making Ends Meet in York Region 

Working together to build healthy, inclusive communities
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York Human Services Planning Board (HSPB-YR) this week hosted the community launch of Making Ends Meet in York Region, a discussion paper and work plan that calls for community action to help those who live with financial struggle. 
“York Region is committed to supporting the unique needs of our diverse and growing population,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “We know a growing number of families and individuals in York Region are struggling to make ends meet. The Human Services Planning Board of York Region, together with the broader community, is taking action to curb this trend and help all residents enjoy a good quality of life.”
While the reasons for financial struggle are varied and complex, the common element is the growing gap between household income and the high cost of living.  It takes about $70,000 for a family of four to have a decent standard of living.  In York Region, residents earning up to $70,000 represent approximately 81,000 families or 321,000 individuals.  The Human Services Planning Board agreed to take action to help this low to moderate income group. 
“Making Ends Meet in York Region requires all sectors working together towards a common goal,” said Town of Markham Deputy Mayor Jack Heath, Chair of York Region’s Community and Health Services Committee. “This initiative is founded on the belief that, with a common focus and broad community commitment, positive change will happen to help people improve their standard of living.”
The Board agreed that together, as a community, they can move beyond the problem to work on what is possible by focusing on two key areas for action:
• Affordable Housing: Housing affordability is a real issue for many families. A good mixture of safe and affordable housing options and programs is needed throughout York Region so that people are not spending 30 to 50 per cent or more of their income on shelter. 
• Economic Self-Sufficiency: A strong combination of employment and human service supports will help workers find employment that matches their skill and education, pay the bills, put healthy food on the table and access affordable child care and elder care.
This week’s celebration launched the Board’s shared vision and commitment to work beyond the boundaries of their respective organizations to find innovative actions and collaborative approaches to advance these priorities.
“This is a call to action across the Region,” said Town of Newmarket Regional Councillor John Taylor, Co-Chair of the HSPB-YR.  “Board organizations, then the community at large, will consider what each of us can do to respond to the problem and create positive change.  These individual actions, programs and initiatives will combine to create an all-inclusive solution to this very real and complex issue.”
The event included a panel discussion with various HSPB-YR members on the Making Ends Meet in York Region initiative and an inspirational address from Ric Young, Founder and President of E-Y-E, The Social Projects Studio and architect of numerous social change initiatives.
“When we work together on what matters, the potential for change is real,” said York Catholic District School Board Director of Education Susan La Rosa, Co-Chair of the HSPB-YR.  “All HSPB-YR members believe that Making Ends Meet in York Region will work because it is a community vision that all of us can believe in and get behind.”
For more information on the HSPB-YR, please visit www.york.ca/HSPB
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905-830-4444, ext. 4016 / Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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