Lower Columbia Region Releases Road Map to Poverty Reduction

Posted on January 15, 2018
By City of Trail

Thriving for All 1

British Columbia is one of the most prosperous provinces in Canada, yet poverty remains a serious issue in many communities. According to a new report released today, key indicators of poverty remain startlingly high in the Lower Columbia Region (LCR) of BC’s West Kootenay. For example, the four local foodbanks support approximately 5,000 visits per year. Additionally 1,600 households – 1 in 5 in the region – are in housing need, and in 2013, the last year for which there is reliable data, 990 children were living in poverty.

“Our new plan, Thriving for All: Lower Columbia Poverty Reduction Plan, is focused on delivering solutions to poverty in the area,” said Janet Morton, Executive Director of the Skills Centre in Trail. The eighteen recommendations in the plan fall into five broad themes: housing, food security, social, health and community services, learning and development, and a vibrant and inclusive economy. “One area that stimulated significant discussion was around affordable housing and the need for subsidized housing alternatives for low income households,” added Morton.

The plan was developed with input from regional service providers, local business and industry, local government, and included a number of people currently living in poverty. City of Rossland Mayor, Kathy Moore, was an eager participant in the development of the plan. “As the mayor of Rossland and a participant in the process to create this poverty reduction plan for our region, I am very gratified to see it in its final form,” said Mayor Moore. “I am proud that the Lower Columbia region has taken a leadership role. It is past time to solve this issue”.

Thriving for All 2“The on-the-ground research that has gone into the formation of this poverty reduction plan is a reminder that, in spite of economic indicators that are often trumpeted as proclamations of success, not everyone in British Columbia is sharing in the prosperity,” said Trish Garner, Community Organizer with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition. “This plan highlights the need for concrete action at all levels of government and, hopefully, it will inform the process of the recently launched Minister’s Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction.”

Both Ms. Morton and Dr. Garner have recently been appointed to the newly created Minister’s Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction.

Thriving for All: Lower Columbia Poverty Reduction Plan is the culmination of a 5 year process involving conducting baseline research, workshops, and consulting with local governments, health, education, and social service providers, other provincial working groups, and local stakeholders (those who have experienced living in poverty). The report builds upon a number of other crucial collaborative projects conducted over the period including gender-based studies, regional living wage studies, and workshops exploring poverty reduction strategies from around the province of BC.

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This blog was written on November 30, 2017

Poverty Reduction, Cities Reducing Poverty, Poverty Reduction Strategy

City of Trail

By City of Trail

The Women Creating Change community plan is an economic development strategy developed through a gendered lens that mirrors a poverty reduction strategy, and is focused on creating economic opportunity for women. In 2012-13, baseline data was gathered that fed into creating a plan, which was formalized at the end of Year 1. Implementation of the Women Creating Change plan occurred over the following two years. The project has led to the establishment of the Stepping Out Bursary to assist women earning at or below the “living wage” to access training to assist them to improve their economic opportunity. In addition, Status of Women Canada has funded a second project known as Mining and Refining for Women (MR4W) in which the Skills Centre is working with Teck Metals Ltd. and Bock and Associates to design and deliver a mentorship program to support the retention and advancement of women in non-traditional employment with Teck Metals Ltd. The results of MR4W have been exceptional. A report on poverty reduction indicators for the region was completed in the Fall of 2016, following by the Surviving to Thriving Summit: Creative Inclusive Communities which took place over 2 days in May, 2017 involving 70 participants representing a variety of stakeholder groups. Key elements or branches of a poverty reduction strategy have been identified and preliminary work on defining strategies and actions. The goal is to complete a poverty reduction plan for the region by Fall of 2017 and then seek funding from various sources to begin implementation.

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