ALIV(e), Low-Income Voices

I am currently working with a group called, ALIV(e), which stands for Awareness of Low-Income Voices. I am facilitating the process of increasing their online presence through a website, a blog and a twitter feed so that they can continue their amazing work using new forms of communication.

After having a 4 hour meeting with the group today, I am inspired by the stories they brought to the table. There are many stories of poverty in the Waterloo Region that most residents are not familiar with. It is this groups’ mandate to raise awareness of those stories so that change can happen. Not only are they talking about the social problems around poverty, but they have ideas for solutions to those problems.

The need now is for the right people to hear those ideas and solutions and make the changes.

More about the ALIV(e) group:

ALIV(e) is a collaborative group of individuals with LIVED low income experience, looking to bring the voice of the low income community into the arena of poverty prevention and reduction.

ALIV(e) supports networking between government, non-profit groups and low income communities.

Awareness of Low Income Voices – ALIV(e) – was founded in 2007 by Opportunities Waterloo Region as a way to learn more about the issues, experiences and concerns of people living on low incomes. With financial, administrative and facilitation support from Opportunities, ALIV(e) is educating its members and the wider community about poverty-related concerns and initiatives aimed at preventing and reducing poverty.

The group is constantly looking for new members that can add to the voice of ALIV(e). Please contact Brenda Regehr at Opportunities Waterloo Region at 519-883-2353 ext.#5985 for further information or to attend a meeting.

Keep checking back for news about when their website will be launched.

Out in the Cold

OITC is a grassroots event to raise money and awareness of homelessness and housing issues.

Founded in March 2007 Out in the Cold is a grassroots, student-run event held every November, where students and community members are invited to spend the night outside on campus, to raise money and awareness of homelessness issues in their local community.

We are continuing the Out in the Cold initiative by sharing a model by which other schools and universities can adapt to their respective campus and local community. was launched in October 2009 as an online portal to document the growth of this grassroots initiative. It is our goal to provide the tools necessary for people in other schools and universities to organize similar events in order to provide a better understanding of issues surrounding homelessness, poverty and housing stability.

Causes of homelessness include poverty and a lack of affordable housing. Root causes of poverty include low income, unemployment or underemployment, social isolation, racism, low literacy, poor education, and many more. Addressing homelessness is effective social, health, and economic policy.

After three years at the University of Waterloo, the Out in the Cold model was successfully adapted at the University of Toronto campus. In November 2009, Out in the Cold was run simultaneously at both campuses, and was organized by teams of students led by Kaija Saarinen (Waterloo) and Jenna van Draanen (Toronto).

Out in the Cold Timeline

has raised over $10,000 for organizations tackling the issues of poverty and homelessness in the local community.

March 2007: University of Waterloo

November 2007: University of Waterloo

November 2008: University of Waterloo

November 2009:

University of Waterloo & University of Toronto launched

November 2010:

Our goal is to apply this model to schools and universities across Canada. Please contact us if you would like to host Out in the Cold in your local community.

Continue reading “Out in the Cold”