Jen Powley gets things done. As co-founder of No More Warehousing, she has worked to better the lives of people living with disabilities. As a member of two refugee support groups, she has worked to help new Nova Scotians start their lives here with safety and dignity. As an active participant in many community organizations, Jen has worked hard to create positive change. When the municipal planning strategy became a barrier to change, Jen worked toward changing the strategy. Jen has lived with multiple sclerosis throughout her adult life. She knows what it’s like to face challenges and make good things happen. She listens, she thinks, and she acts.
- No More Warehousing, co-founder. Advocates for, and provides information to, people with severe physical disabilities. The only provincial program available offers about seven hours of support a day with an unspecified pay rate. If an individual wants to pay a living wage, they have to survive on fewer hours of care. If more care is needed, their only option is a nursing home. Despite the province’s goal of accessible communities by 2030, there is no option for community living. Jen initiated a four-person pilot, a joint project of the provincial departments of Health and Wellness and Community Services. (In its initial stages, it was put on hold due to COVID.)
- Open Harbour Refugee Association (OHRA), board member. After Jen and her friend sponsored a Palestinian-Iraqi family, the friend founded OHRA in 2015. Jen continues to be an active and valued member.
- Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia, former president. A group dedicated to sponsoring and supporting LGBTQI+ individuals in developing a new home in Halifax.
- JRG Society for the Arts, vice-president. A non-profit society dedicated to supporting and celebrating the efforts of people with disabilities in all forms of artistic expression. (This year’s celebration at City Hall was postponed due to COVID.)
- Built Environment Standard Development Committee, member. A committee formed to assist the Accessibility Advisory Board with making recommendations to the Minister of Justice to develop a standard for accessibility in the built environment.
- HRM Access-a-Bus Advisory Committee, former member. Worked to improve standards.
- HRM Planning Advisory Committee, former member. Worked to improve what gets built in the South End.
- Ecology Action Centre, Our HRM Alliance, former coordinator. Managed an alliance of 49 member groups from across HRM (urban, rural, and suburban) and across sectors. Researched and wrote Our Seven Solutions. Maintained status information on the identified HotSpots, and communication with the Community Design Advisory Committee and the Municipal RP+5 team.
- Ecology Action Centre, former staff member. Provided information to government departments about the social and environmental consequences of transportation-related decisions. Portfolio included transit, the Atlantic Gateway, and motorized transport systems including rail and vehicles.
- Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities, former coordinator of Partnership for Access Awareness campaign, then coordinator for the organization. Developed campaign planks and dealt with provincial media and decision makers.
- Independent Living Nova Scotia, former worker on project to find job experience for volunteers (then called Metro Independent Living).
- Halifax Community Health Board, former member.
- University of King’s College, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Nonfiction, 2015
- Dalhousie University, Master of Urban and Rural Planning, 2009
- University of King’s College, post-baccalaureate Bachelor of Journalism, 2001
- King’s University College (Edmonton) BA in Social Sciences, 2000
Through the MFA program, Jen wrote the memoir Just Jen: Thriving Through Multiple Sclerosis, published by Roseway, an imprint of Fernwood, in 2017. Jen won the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Non-Fiction), at the 2018 Atlantic Book Awards.
From Quill & Quire review:
Forthright, illuminating, and frequently moving in her narration, Powley addresses the clichés of typical illness stories upfront…Powley distinguishes herself through her philosophical approach to her illness, focusing on building a life rather than praying for a cure. At its core, Just Jen is a story about realistic hope. Powley shows us what it means to fully engage with the world on our own terms.
Sounds Like a Halifax Adventure, self-published, 2020. Illustrated by Bee Stanton.
Written for adults and adolescents, Jen Powley’s novella in the “determine-your-own-path” form follows the adventures of Pia, a door chime, and Edgar, the hum of a refrigerator, who are “alive” at the whim of their special owner. The two sounds take a lively trek through some of Halifax’s best-known and best-loved places, beautifully revealing that Pia and Edgar have the same insecurities as most humans do. Their struggles are no different from those of the people they encounter in the port city.
Carol Bruneau, author of A Circle on the Surface, A Bird on Every Tree, and other titles, writes:
“Delving under the surface of what seems familiar, author Jen Powley takes us on a tour of Halifax that’s full of fun and peril. In this wonderful work of the imagination, trickster sounds talk back, hitch rides and share unexpected adventures with the most unsuspecting humans. Sounds Like a Halifax Adventure is sure to surprise and inform those who like having a narrative delivered just as much as it will startle and delight those who prefer building their own”
HRM needs a Better Council.
Vote for a Better Council.
Vote for Jen.
Jen Powley is a candidate for councillor in District 7.
Jen has lived with multiple sclerosis throughout her adult life. She knows what it’s like to face challenges and make good things happen. She listens, she thinks, and she acts.
Let’s work together to get Jen elected!
You have the opportunity to be a part of something special.
Help Jen become a Different Voice for Halifax by donating to her campaign.
On October 17th, vote Jen Powley for council.