First online low-income simulation tool released across Canada through United Way

VICTORIA – One in 14 Greater Victoria residents live in poverty and every day is a battle with hunger, stress, isolation and constant worry.

United Ways across the country recently launched Make the Month®, an interactive online simulator that aims to help Canadians understand and experience what it’s like to live in poverty. Through the generosity of partner Imperial, and support of Park Digital, Make the Month is available across the country and features 13 regions nationwide.

Make the Month simulates the limited budget many Canadians struggle with to meet life’s basic needs for one month. Difficult scenarios – such as finding affordable housing, buying nutritious food, and supporting loved ones – provide insight into the choices faced every day by those living in poverty, and into United Way’s work to improve lives in local communities. Residents in Greater Victoria can try Make the Month by visiting makethemonth.ca/victoria

“Everyone should play Make the Month. Several times, in fact. This well-designed game is incredibly illuminating. It’s also incredibly frustrating. It clearly shows just how difficult it is for low-income earners to survive financially even when they act in a disciplined manner. The game fosters understanding and empathy – two key ingredients society needs in order to address this challenge successfully,” explains Dave Chilton, author of “The Wealthy Barber” and former Dragon on CBC’s “Dragons’ Den”. “

The concern over Canada’s low-income individuals and families is understandable. These are hardworking people struggling to meet their basic needs – from paying rent to putting food on the table. Make the Month is a tool that gives us insight into the barriers to success for these low-income Canadians,” says Todd Hirsch, Chief economist with ATB Financial and spokesperson for Make the Month.

To recognize Financial Literacy Month this November, United Way is introducing Make the Month Day on November 3rd. On this day residents are encouraged to take the Make the Month Challenge and share their experience on Twitter using the #makethemonth hashtag. Each tweet will help raise awareness to support United Way’s work moving people from a life of poverty to one of possibility.

“At United Way Greater Victoria, poverty is one of our three priority areas. In 2014, we funded 21 programs to help individuals find safe and affordable housing, access to healthy food and sustainable employment,” says Patricia Jelinski, CEO. “By investing in programs and collaborations that address root causes of poverty, United Way Greater Victoria works to ensure that all residents in our community have the necessary resources to move from poverty to possibility.”

Visit uwgv.ca/poverty to learn more about the United Way Greater Victoria programs and partnerships working to address poverty in our region.

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