Remembering former AAP member Colin Plant

Alliance Against Poverty (AAP) members would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Colin Plant, who passed away on Sunday July 2nd. (please see below for Obituary)  

A memorial service and tree planting in honour of Colin Plant is being held on  Wednesday, July 19th at 2pm.  The gathering will occur behind  Supportive Housing of Waterloo  (SHOW)  at 362 Erb St. West, Waterloo.

Colin was part of AAP from 2009 until mid 2014, and his contributions to anti-poverty initiatives were greatly appreciated by many. If fact, Colin won an Outstanding Volunteer Housing Champion award in 2011, which is given to an individual or group who, through volunteer work, has significantly increased the community’s awareness of affordable housing issues and/or has measurably contributed to the creation of new affordable housing or to the sustainability of existing stock within Waterloo Region.  

Colin was involved in the First Regional Design Jam to tackle food security and homelessness in 2016: "Colin Plant, co-chair of Step Home Participant Advisory Group, explained how his three-and-a-half years in “revolving door homelessness” taught him a lot about what he “was and wasn’t capable of.” He talked about the complex and interrelated issues of housing, food and health instability, but encouraged participants that “Anything is possible,” recalling his own experience of getting his daring, fearless, precocious spirit back."

What Colin said in 2013, is still true today: '
“There is a small group of us who talk and have some solutions. But, the rest of the broader community is what we need,”  Colin spoke about his experience on the streets and what people can do to begin to make a difference. He said simply acknowledging homeless people when they speak to you can do more than you think.' 

In 2011, Colin celebrated Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the move-in day for Supportive Housing of Waterloo’s five-storey building on Erb Street West and also the release of the Homelessness and Housing Umbrella Group (HHUG) Report Card 2011 at Emmanuel United Church.

Obituary from:


Plant Colin





Colin Kenneth Gerald PLANT


PLANT, Colin Kenneth Gerald Passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, July 2, 2017, at his home in Waterloo, at the age of 42 years. Colin will be deeply missed by his mother Brenda and step-father Kevin Luscott of St. Jacobs, children Ethan and Kaitlin Plant, grandmother Lillian McKee, Uncle Harry (Kathy) Ruddick, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Fondly remembered by his friends at SHOW and the The Working Centre. Colin was predeceased by his father James Plant (1982), grandparents Gerald McKee, Frederick and Marjorie Luscott, Kenneth and Lexia Ruddick, and much loved cousin Kathy Ruddick (2014). Colin graduated from Niagara College in Graphic Design and took an extra year to become certified in Interactive Multimedia. He worked as a web designer for a number of years after graduating. Colin had a passion for flying and boating, and channeled his creativity into building beautifully crafted remote control planes and boats. As a member of the St. Catharines Remote Control Flying Club, he was not only a very good flyer, but became an instructor, served as club president for a time, and created and maintained the club's website. Colin's involvement with various regional housing committees and initiatives led to his receiving an Outstanding Volunteer Housing Champion Award from the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. He also represented the region by presenting at a housing conference in Ottawa, and took part in a region sponsored TED talk. At Colin's request, cremation has taken place. A private family interment will be held at a later date. As expressions of sympathy, donations to The Working Centre or Supportive Housing of Waterloo (SHOW) would be appreciated by the family. Arrangements entrusted to the Dreisinger Funeral Home, Elmira.



Petition for K-W residents to have free access to transit

 Graphic by Fani Hsieh

Graphic by Fani Hsieh

A local Kitchener-Waterloo organization has amped up their push to make public transit free for lower-class residents throughout the region.

The Alliance Against Poverty (AAP), founded over a decade ago, is an alliance of individuals from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds striving to eliminate poverty.

They have launched campaigns aimed at housing and living wage in the past and have now decided to take on public transit.

The AAP sets itself apart from other similar groups by refusing government donations and by instituting a system of wealth redistribution whereby members who can afford to do so pay a 50 dollar monthly membership fee and members who are in need of assistance may take 50 dollars from their pool.

“We’re all about wealth redistribution and easing the burden of poverty,” said Brayden McNeill, AAP member. “I think that’s a really significant aspect of the AAP, is that we practice what we preach.”

The latest push in their Accessible Transit for All campaign was a presentation delivered by AAP member, Regan Brusse, on September 21 to the Waterloo Regional Council.

This latest presentation was not the first time the AAP has come before council, as the group has been advocating for accessible transit for the region’s lower class for years with little success.

Grand River Transit currently offers a monthly T.R.I.P pass (Transit for Reduced Income Program), which brings the cost of a monthly pass down to 42 dollars for riders with the remainder subsidized through social services, but the program currently has a waitlist over 475 residents long.

... to read the full article, click here

A Bus Pass or Shoes? (June 1, 2016)

Ziggy Modrzejewski would like new shoes.

I met Modrzejewski in early May, at an Alliance Against Poverty rally at the Charles Street bus terminal in downtown Kitchener. He was there with five others demonstrating in favour of free transit passes for people receiving social assistance.

Modrzejewski has used a subsidized transit pass for the last four years, but says that he “can barely afford” the pass and hasn’t been able to buy a new pair of shoes in years.

Read the full article by Jesse Bauman


Anti-poverty advocates continue push for free transit (Sept. 23, 2016)

Regan Brusse's interview about AAP's push for free transit for folks in poverty, on the Eric Drozd Show on 570 News can be found at 10am Wed., Sept 21st here 
 WATERLOO REGION — Anti-poverty advocates are continuing their efforts to get free transit access for poor people.

On Wednesday, members of the Alliance Against Poverty appealed to Region of Waterloo councillors to provide free Grand River Transit access to all residents on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Regan Brusse told council accessible transit is crucial for low-income residents to access everything from social services to job interviews and employment.

"Transportation is so clearly necessary to obtain a viable income. Our public transit system must be affordable to all," she said.

Brusse herself has been on social assistance and pointed out something as simple as getting food from the food bank is a challenge without taking the bus.

"When I'm picking up food for my family of four it can feel like it weighs four tonnes," she said. "I can never walk it home. There's no chance."

This isn't the first time free transit for the poor has been raised at regional council.

Politicians discussed the idea during the 2016 budget process. But the idea hasn't gained much traction.

Regional chair Ken Seiling said part of the issue is money, but the other part is determining which level of government is responsible for income redistribution.

"The question is whose responsibility is it for doing income redistribution and what is fair to people," he said.

The region committed to reviewing all of its affordable transit programs before the 2017 budget.

According to an August report, each month the region provides more than 2,100 bus passes and 9,100 tickets to poor people — an annual cost of about $1.5 million.

A pilot study will grant residents on the wait-list for the region's Transit for Reduced Income Program access to discounted fares.

Approved in August, the study will see staff research the personal, social and economic impacts of more affordable transit on poor people. The region has requested $513,580 in provincial funding for the study.



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Read the article online here

Anti-poverty group calls for more free bus passes (Sept. 21, 2016)

Alliance Against Poverty (AAP) members were interviewed on CTV Kitchener News September 21, 2016 about AAP's campaign for free transit for folks on Ontario Disability Support and Ontario Works. 

Check it out here