The Nova Scotia Government’s 2009 Poverty Reduction Strategy1 sets out dual goals of reducing poverty and creating opportunities for prosperity. Inherent in this vision is an understanding that when we help those in need, we make Nova Scotia a better place to live for everyone. As has been so aptly demonstrated by the research of Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in their book The Spirit Level2, money spent on reducing poverty and inequality is an investment in all of our futures.
For those who argue that we cannot afford to end poverty, this report makes clear that we cannot afford to ignore it. There is obviously a moral imperative to end poverty first and foremost for those living in poverty. But, there also exists a compelling business case to be made for effective poverty reduction strategies because very real costs of poverty are borne by society as a whole. Poverty is linked with higher rates of crime, increased health care needs, higher school drop-out rates, and lost productivity. If additional poverty reduction dollars are invested wisely alongside current poverty alleviation programs, there will be short and long-term savings to offset the initial investment.