Two new online resources are now available to families living on low incomes and to communities working with them to ensure their needs are met.
The first is an easy-to-use online portal that brings together a number of federal, provincial and community-based supports and services. The one-stop site will help connect people to many of the services they may need, whether it’s housing, transportation, health care, education or skills training: http://goo.gl/Ns0WpZ
“There’s lots of help for people who live on low incomes, but finding it can be a challenge,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux. “So we developed a web page where British Columbians can get connected more easily to the things they need, whether that’s getting a bus pass, finding an affordable place to live, or upgrading their education.”
For communities interested in creating their own local poverty strategy, the Province has pulled together the insights and lessons learned from working with seven communities committed to helping those most in need in their neighbourhoods into a simple quick reference guide that provides a 10-step road map to help get started: http://goo.gl/bBNTH8
Also available online is the Community Poverty Reduction Strategies 2015 Progress Report, which gives readers a close look at how seven B.C. communities are alleviating the effects of poverty and making life easier for families at the local level: http://goo.gl/Qwxo6Z
The Community Poverty Reduction Strategies Initiative began in 2012 as a partnership between the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).
“There is a growing recognition that poverty cannot be addressed by one level of government, one group, or one overarching plan,” said Cadieux. “It takes all levels of government, business and community sectors working together with families in order to ensure that the individual needs of families are being met.”
Some examples of innovative work currently underway include:
- New Westminster has developed a local poverty profile to gain a better understanding of what poverty looks like in their community.
- Cranbrook and New Westminster have held focus groups with families living on a low income to help identify barriers and challenges.
- Low-income families in Cranbrook are receiving free transit passes.
- Stewart has set up a community food bank.
With participating communities moving beyond the pilot project stage, UBCM will no longer be an active partner in the initiative; however, the Province will continue to support the work of each participating community.
Family consultants will continue to connect low-income families with services, to work with community partners and participate on the local poverty reduction planning committees. If new communities want help with creating a local poverty reduction strategy, MCFD will provide support through a local liaison that will work with the community’s planning committee.
With the help of Jackie Tegart, MLA for Fraser-Nicola and appointed poverty liaison for the initiative, MCFD will receive updates on the progress that participating communities are making as they continue to create, refine and implement their own community poverty reduction strategies.
“This project’s individualized approach has a ripple effect,” said Tegart. “Sometimes small things like helping parents find child care or connecting them to a community agency can have a huge impact on their lives, and I’m happy to continue my work with communities to help those in need.”
In addition to the ongoing community initiatives, the Province will continue to support communities and families throughout B.C. at the provincial level by growing the economy and creating jobs, and by providing the targeted supports and services that individuals and families need in order to be lifted out of poverty.