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Justin Williams

Justin Williams
Justin is the Managing Assistant with Tamarack’s Vibrant Communities team. Before joining Tamarack, he worked in higher-education and student advocacy managing research and political affairs teams. Justin is passionate about the role of governance processes in promoting community, sustainability and poverty reduction.

Recent Posts

Kitchener’s Love My Hood

Posted by Justin Williams on September 20, 2018

The City of Kitchener recently received an award for planning excellence from the Canadian Institute of Planners. Kitchener’s Love My Hood strategy was awarded the prize for New and Emerging Planning initiatives for its innovative and unique methodology - providing small groups of residents the tools and permission to work with their community to formulate an action plan and make decisions.

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The United Kingdom Addressing Youth Loneliness

Posted by Justin Williams on August 17, 2018

Two big announcements on youth loneliness have recently come out of the United Kingdom. First, the United Kingdom announced £2 million from its Building Connections Fund to support youth-focused initiatives to be distributed by the Co-Op Foundation. The funding announcement pairs with the launch of the report “A Place to Belong: The Role of Local Youth Organizations in Addressing Youth Loneliness,” by UK Youths which the Co-Op Foundation supported.

The Building Connections Fund is a collaboration between the Government, Big Lottery Fund and the Co-Op Foundation in response to the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. The aim of the fund is to reduce loneliness in England. The fund contains two strands £9 million from the main fund and a separate £2 million that is targeted toward youth. The youth strand will provide £80,000 to organizations to co-develop approaches with youth to combat loneliness.

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London For All: Making Progress and Meeting Targets One Year In

Posted by Justin Williams on July 23, 2018

In May, United Way Elgin Middlesex reported that it had met 27 of its 112 targets as part of London’s anti-poverty strategy, London For All, just one year since starting its work. United Way Elgin Middlesex is the lead agency implementing London’s strategy. The United Way brings together partners to implement plans, ensures evaluation and accountability, reports back to the community, and meaningfully involves folks with lived experience of poverty in all aspects of the project.

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Canada's Smart City Challenge: Combining Community Engagement with Innovation

Posted by Justin Williams on July 9, 2018

As a point of honesty, I admit that I was skeptical of the Smart Cities concept when I first learned of it. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the development of Smart Cities as an idea, and I worried that the concept was designed to sell products rather than make our communities better with the ultimate outcome being further division and isolation for citizens. Smart Cities and the technologies attached to them, at their best, have the capacity to improve citizen engagement, increase our capacity to collect data to inform decisions, reduce inequality, and lighten the impact of urban centres on the environment. Alternatively, poorly planned and implemented projects can further the digital divide and decrease the connection between citizens and their government.

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Basic Income Re-Emerging as a Means of Addressing Poverty

Posted by Justin Williams on May 25, 2018

2018 has seen a resurgence of discussions around the concept of a guaranteed basic income. Discussions around a guaranteed income are being promoted across the political spectrum, by different levels of government, and by organizations throughout Canada.

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Lessons from Toronto Foundation's Vital Signs Report: Towards a More Just City

Posted by Justin Williams on March 13, 2018

The Toronto Foundation, a community foundation focused on pooling philanthropic resources to maximize community impact, released their 2017/18 vital signs report this month. This year’s report, Towards a More Just City, uses an equity lens to reveal the ways that quality of life can be impacted by neighbourhood, income, race, immigration status, gender, sexual identity and age in Toronto. The Toronto Foundation hopes that the equity lens, and the concerns that it highlights, provide a useful roadmap for government, the philanthropic sector, private sector and individual citizens to remove systemic barriers facing some populations in Toronto from full participation in the city.

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