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New program launched to help break the cycle of poverty

The Simcoe County Chapter of Circles Canada will help people break the cycle of poverty, find good jobs and become financially self-sufficient
homeless sleeping on street
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Circles Canada program launches in Simcoe County to help break the cycle of poverty

On Friday, Mar. 3, the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) in partnership with the County of Simcoe’s Ontario Works Department, announced the launch of the Simcoe County Chapter of Circles Canada. The program, which will be based out of Midland and Penetanguishene, will help people break the cycle of poverty, find good jobs and become financially self-sufficient.

Supported by a Local Poverty Reduction Fund grant of $279,000, the program will be available to the community for three years and is comprised of the following three sub-programs: 

  • Circles
  • Bridges out of Poverty
  • Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World

Circles is based on a supportive relationship comprised of a Circle Leader (an individual/family working to get out of poverty who has completed the Getting Ahead workshop), and two to four community Allies (middle class individuals who have completed a Bridges Out of Poverty workshop) who are willing to befriend the individual/family, and provide support.

The SCDSB in partnership with the County of Simcoe is committed to engaging and supporting willing members of Simcoe County to participate in the Circles Canada program.

“The SCDSB is proud to work on this project with our community partners,” says Peter Beacock, SCDSB board chair. “Together we can support members of our communities in making their lives and those of their families better.”

“We thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting local poverty reduction initiatives and we look forward to working with the SCDSB as we provide our most vulnerable residents with a boost out of poverty and a path towards possibility,” says County of Simcoe Warden, Gerry Marshall.

This initiative and the research arising from it is one of 30 projects across Ontario funded through Ontario's Local Poverty Reduction Fund, which is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The fund invests over $16 million to support innovative, community-led programs that help groups disproportionately affected by poverty get into housing, develop skills and find employment, including women, single parents, people with disabilities, youth, newcomers, visible minorities, seniors and Indigenous Peoples. The data collected will contribute to a body of knowledge that will support poverty reduction programs across the province.