The #UNIGNORABLE issue of access to basic needs

Can you remember a time when money was tight, and you had to make difficult—or even painful—decisions to get by?

Thousands of people in our community are facing this challenge right now. In Calgary, poverty is clustered in certain neighbourhoods, where up to 1 in 3 residents are struggling with low income. Living in day-to-day survival mode fills people’s lives with stress and can make it hard to carry out everyday tasks—never mind think about how to save for the future.

Get ideas about how you can support the people around you, and learn how United Way’s Community Hubs initiative is helping to connect residents with their basic needs.

Thousands of people are faced with impossible decisions every day. If you had to make a tough choice, what would you choose?

Over 50 per cent of Alberta's homeless population resides in Calgary
1 in 3 Calgarians worry about money for housing
1 in 5 Calgarians worry about money for food

There are nice-to-haves, and then there are must-haves. For thousands of people locally, even the must-haves are out of reach. And once you factor in concerns like illness, job loss (Calgary’s current unemployment rate is above 7 per cent), and the mounting cost of living, the complexity—and gravity—of this issue starts to unfold. That’s why United Way invests in programs and services that ensure people have access to basic needs, and allow them to focus on building their strengths and move towards greater self-sufficiency and a brighter future.

Get Immersed: More Stories

Test your knowledge about the reality of poverty in Calgary below, and learn about a certain group that faces unique barriers to meeting their basic needs. Plus, see how organizations have banded together in Greater Forest Lawn to help residents access their necessities.

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Quiz: What does poverty in Calgary look like?

Accessing basic needs like food and shelter can be a struggle for many people living in our community.

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Working together to end LGBTQ2S+ poverty

“We all live with the objective of being happy,” Anne Frank once said. This is a simple human desire that is sometimes easier said than done—and particularly difficult for people that experience the pain of being rejected for who they are.

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Stronger sector collaboration improving lives in Calgary

Collective impact is when groups from different sectors work together to solve a specific social problem, striving to reach the same goal.


You can help everyone in the Calgary area build a good life. Donate now to make sure people are equipped with the essentials that help them build a brighter future.

If you are struggling to meet your basic needs, please contact 211. Whether you need food, shelter, or even help finding a job, 211 is a single point of contact for those who don’t know where to turn for help.

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