Momentum is an organization whose goals center on community economic development, working with partners and people living on low incomes to achieve a thriving local economy. Jeff Loomis, Executive Director of Momentum, answered a few questions on how his organization helps individuals achieve financial independence and security to reduce or eliminate situations that contribute to poverty.
What do you feel are the types of things your organization is doing that are the most innovative in creating equitable communities?
There’s a few things that we’re using to address the challenge of poverty and the rising cost of living. One is we work with people to be able to build savings. We really believe that if people are able to build savings, even when they’re struggling, that it does create that cushion if an unexpected expense happens. We also believe that by building savings, people have the opportunity to then invest in themselves.
One of the innovative ways that we’re doing that as we launched an online savings app with a Canadian FinTech called QUBER. The savings challenge is free for anyone, they can enroll, and get boosts to their own savings, so that over a 10 month period, they’ll be able to have $500 that can really function for any emergency that would happen. They’d be able to use those $500, or they could use $500 to put towards a savings goal.
Who or what do you feel hinders the progress towards achieving equitable communities?
We know that income inequality is rising across Canada and Calgary is one of the fastest growing cities in the entire country for income inequality. And one of the reasons why income inequality is increasing is because wages at the lower end of the spectrum are just not increasing at the rate required to make ends meet.
What parts of the city do you see as being the most vulnerable?
Former mayor Nenshi did a TED talk where he spoke about the Deerfoot divide – ten years ago we were seeing that significant divide in income and other forms of socio economic inequality from the east side of the city to the west side of the city.
Who else do you feel is doing innovative work improving the well-being of communities? Who do you think we should talk to, and may we use your name in reaching out to other organizations?
On the Vibrant Communities Calgary website they have their Enough For All champions. Those are all different organizations that have committed to working together to try to reduce poverty in the community.
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