People who are vulnerable and and have low incomes will be supported with more than $440,000 in government funding for local poverty-reduction projects on Vancouver Island and in coastal communities.
Projects proposed by Colwood, Duncan, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan and Sechelt received grants:
- In partnership with Victoria, Saanich and Esquimalt, Colwood’s Regional Household Affordability and Prosperity Project ($100,000) will develop strategies to improve regional housing affordability for renters and owners.
- Building on lessons learned through COVID-19, Duncan will partner with North Cowichan to develop a poverty-reduction planning process and action plan to improve the lives of people living in poverty in the Cowichan Valley ($48,700).
- Ladysmith will use its grant of $50,000 to host a food-security fair with demonstration workshops, as well as implement a food-distribution program for Stz’uminus Elders and an after-school snack program to support local recreation and cultural programs.
- Lake Cowichan’s poverty-reduction project ($50,000) offers free meal planning, food budgeting and preserving, as well as cooking and meal-sharing workshops. It will also provide a safe space to borrow tools, share garden space, and share skills, goods and other supports.
- Sechelt is partnering with the Sunshine Coast Regional District and Gibsons to implement recommendations from the Sunshine Coast Strategic Framework for Action on Poverty Reduction. Backed by a grant of nearly $150,000, the project aims to raise awareness about the stigma of poverty, develop a poverty-reduction lens for service providers, and improve access to digital services and supports for low-income earners.
“All British Columbians should have the right to support themselves and their families and live with dignity,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “These poverty-reduction grants are a fine example of what we’re doing to support local governments in their work to take action against poverty.”
These projects are from the third intake of the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ (UBCM) Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program, which supports local government projects or plans to reduce poverty at the local level. The intent of the funding is for local governments to develop initiatives that are aligned with TogetherBC, B.C.’s poverty-reduction strategy.
“Local governments are best suited to identify chronic and emerging issues in their own communities,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “These grants will support action at the local level. Municipalities will work with community partners to develop strategies that can break the cycle of poverty, strengthening communities and improving the lives of all British Columbians.”
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.
“These projects build upon local government relationships and will aid participants in identifying the unique needs of vulnerable and low-income people in each community,” said Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, UBCM president. “This collaborative approach will assist in building ownership locally along with strategies that address the grassroots challenges in each place.”
Around the province, 18 projects spanning 24 local governments will receive a total of more than $1 million 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, housing, employment, income supports 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 and 2021, 75 local governments received more than $1.9 million for 44 poverty-reduction plans and projects.
- The program includes two streams of funding:
- as much as $25,000 to develop or update poverty-reduction assessments or plans; and
- as much as $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: