On February 7, 2019, the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership (SPRP) launched 12 Bold Ideas to Eliminate Poverty in Saskatoon. Applying an equity and human-rights based approach, the strategy presents 12 intersectoral and interconnected ideas that the group believes could have the biggest impact towards eliminating poverty in Saskatoon. It looks to policies and practices that could be adapted, keeping in mind jurisdictions, mandates and funding structures, but also encourages readers to think differently in order to challenge and disrupt systemic barriers.
12 Bold Ideas was informed by feedback from 350 partners, agencies, government, leaders, policy makers and people with diverse experiences of poverty. Adhering to SPRP’s commitment to the principle “nothing about us without us,” people with lived experience were the strategy’s dominant contributors. Over its development, 35 experts with lived experience shared their stories and visions by way of 480 phone conversations, 1780 emails, 15 sharing circles, 65 shared stories, and 5 mentorships.
SPRP’s strategy was founded on the recognition that racial, ethnic, and cultural minorities experience higher rates of discrimination, social isolation, exclusion, criminalization, and poverty. Conventional systems designed to help people can instead perpetuate systemic racism and can impede access to basic needs and essential services.
12 Bold Ideas interweaves a story of a family which reflects a compilation of the many situations and experiences shared by people with lived experience of poverty. It exemplifies the complexity of the circumstances of vulnerable families, depicting how things pile up, and how what would seem like a small bump for many can be a catastrophic event for people who are struggling to make ends meet.
At its close, the strategy asks readers to reflect on this example family to identify ways that we could re-write the story of poverty in Saskatoon. What would it look like if: the characters had the income and assets required to meet their needs; their experiences with poverty opened up possibilities for healing instead of a revolving door of poverty and pain; and, systems were connected so that they didn’t have to worry about being at the wrong place all the time?
SPRP asks its readers to first think about why the 12 bold ideas should be implemented, then encourages them to reflect on the limitless ways that they and their organizations can support the strategy’s implementation and evaluation. The group envisions that, if implemented using evidence-based practice, in a trauma informed way, with long term goals in sight, Saskatoon could become one of the most equitable cities in Canada.
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