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

Bamfield Road safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

City of Port Alberni offers support after fatal bus crash

Two University of Victoria students killed after crash en route to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

Participants double at Parkinson’s Superwalk in Port Alberni

Second annual event also saw an increase in funds raised

Alberni School District considers three name changes

Neill Elementary, Ucluelet Secondary and school district identified for new names

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read