Patty Edwards is the constituency assistant for Scott Fraser, MLA. NEWS FILE PHOTO

16 Days of Activism: Patty Edwards

Edwards is a poverty advocate and system navigator for people in crisis

  • Dec. 3, 2017 10:00 a.m.

This feature highlights one of many women who make a difference in the community, put on by ACAWS and the Alberni Valley News as part of the 16 Days of Activism. Read our other features here.

Patty Edwards

I am a woman of privilege by virtue of being born a white woman in Canada. At the age of 31, I found myself suddenly invisible as a result of a marriage breakdown. I was a single mother with two pre-school children who had to turn to Income Assistance for financial support for an extended period.

The isolation of poverty is profound, and I vowed that when I was able to get off the welfare system I would become an advocate for those on the system that had no voice. So thirty years later, I am proud to stand with those that are experiencing poverty and require assistance to understand their options and access their rights.

I believe that having safe affordable housing is a basic human right and so I have taken on the role of Champion to the cause of increasing the stock of affordable rental housing in our community. I believe in the principle of Housing First, which is the concept that people can’t work on their issues until they have a stable home.

In our community we have a rental housing availability crisis which is resulting in many citizens having to live in precarious situations. Major losses of low cost rental housing to fires, change of land use and older buildings being condemned has created a near zero vacancy rate.

I have been a member of the NDP Women’s Rights Committee for over thirty years and we successfully lobbied for gender parity in all decision making bodies of the NDP. Today I am celebrating that we have a Government Caucus that is 50% women, a first for British Columbia and a first for Canada.

Gender equality is something that is important for me as I believe any decision making body should reflect the faces of the people they represent. Since women make up over fifty per cent of the population, their expertise is needed at the table.

I have the privilege of working in a job where I get the opportunity to be a “System Navigator” for people in crisis. I am constantly amazed by the courage and fortitude of people once they have someone who can stand beside them and help them navigate the process of accessing services and benefits.

We live in a society where the concept of “self help” is promoted but the fact is that when people are experiencing a crisis it is a major challenge to respond in a timely and effective way.

This week I had an opportunity to mediate a Landlord and Tenant dispute which resulted in an agreement to maintain the tenancy and avoid a Dispute Resolution Hearing with the Residential Tenancy Branch.

Just Posted

Chaos and creativity reign at Alberni’s Rollin Art Centre

The next art exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre will be an… Continue reading

Celebrate cycling in Port Alberni during Bike to Work and School Week

Numerous ‘celebration stations’ are planned for May 28 to June 2

Alberni RCMP kept busy with 170 calls over May long weekend

Detachment answers calls from fatal vehicle crash to man with a gun, trailer thefts

Ucluelet shakes up emergency services, removes manager, eyes new sirens

District has eliminated Emergency and Environmental Manager position

Port Alberni’s Walk for Dog Guides has a new look, new route

Bosley’s comes on board as sponsor for May 27 event

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan continues to shine in adaptation Ian McEwan novel about young newlyweds on their wedding day

Unicyclist starts his cross-Canada trip in Vancouver

Taylor Stark started his journey May 7

B.C. patients lost nearly $500,000 due to medical wait times: report

Fraser Institute report shows Canadians as a whole lost $1.9 billion

BC Seafood Festival competition line-up announced for Island event

Top international and local celebrity chefs and oyster shuckers will be leveraging… Continue reading

Rain, melting snow pose flooding concerns across B.C. as evacuations lift

There are still about 300 Canadian Forces personnel, 380 wildfire crews helping with flood response

Vancouver Island police dog retires from RCMP

Boomer and Const. Clay Wurzinger had numerous successes

PNE’s Summer Night Concerts by Village People, Lauper, Goo Goo Dolls, more

Mostly retro sounds at this year’s fair in Vancouver, starting Aug. 18

Notley to skip western premiers meeting today, but slams leader who’s there

Notley told reporters that B.C. Premier John Horgan is trying to shut down the Trans Mountain pipeline

No suitors emerge for pipeline project stake as Kinder Morgan deadline looms

Analysts and observers remain perplexed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s comment last week that “plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project”.

Most Read