Vulnerable and low-income people in Quesnel and Williams Lake will be better supported thanks to $100,000 in government funding for local poverty reduction strategies.
“Local governments are crucial in our efforts to reduce poverty in B.C., because the impacts of poverty are felt most keenly at the local level,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “By supporting local governments in the development of their own poverty reduction plans and projects, we’re ensuring they have the tools and resources to make a difference. As B.C. continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we know people still need extra support, and these grants do just that.”
These projects are from the second intake of the Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program, administered by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). UBCM supports local government plans and projects designed to reduce poverty at a local level, as well as the Province’s poverty reduction strategy, TogetherBC.
Quesnel will receive $50,000 for a food redistribution pilot project that will create community connections with food providers and organizations that can accept and distribute food to those in need. The project will also evaluate whether a sustainable food redistribution model can be developed long term.
Williams Lake will also receive $50,000 for its Every Door the Right Door project. This community social service project will be comprised of many initiatives, including a digital literacy program and the development of a social enterprise program to provide opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment.
“The City of Quesnel was happy to partner with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to bring the Food Redistribution Network to the implementation stage,” said Bob Simpson, mayor, City of Quesnel. “This Food Redistribution Network will increase local food security and will help shift the community away from an emergency-based charity model to one that is empowering, community driven and sustainable; all while reducing food waste. It was apparent after the CMHA conducted the Quesnel Community Food System Assessment that the community is in need of this project.”
All projects will involve key community partners, such as community-based poverty reduction organizations, people with lived experience of poverty, businesses, local First Nations or Indigenous organizations.
“Local governments have called for a deeper provincial commitment to poverty reduction for many years now,” said Brian Frenkel, president, UBCM. “Our members also recognize that poverty is contextual and that our collective response needs to reflect the unique conditions and challenges in B.C.’s communities. We appreciate the support this program is providing for the development of local strategies and approaches.”
Throughout B.C., 10 projects spanning 12 local governments will receive a total of almost $350,000 from this intake. To qualify, projects, plans and strategies must focus on one or more of TogetherBC’s priority-action areas, which include families, children and youth, education and training, housing, employment income and social supports.
- In 2019, the B.C. government provided $5 million to the UBCM to fund the Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program.
- In 2020, 63 local governments received a total of $1.6 million for 34 poverty reduction plans and projects.
- The program includes two streams of funding:
- up to $25,000 to develop or update poverty reduction assessments or plans; and
- up to $50,000 to undertake local poverty reduction projects.
- Municipalities and regional districts can partner and apply with other local governments for regional grants.
- For regional applications, the funding maximum for both streams is $150,000.
TogetherBC, British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy:
Learn more about the UBCM Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program grants: