The BC Poverty Reduction has made our submission to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultations. The 27-page submission, developed with considerable input from the Coalition’s member groups, outlines detailed recommendations for a comprehensive, cross-ministerial plan. The submission argues that:
Just as we pool our resources to provide public health care and education to all, the provincial government should provide and adequately fund public poverty reduction to provide universal basic services to end poverty and significantly reduce inequity in BC.
Thanks to your input, we created a second submission based on 912 survey responses. The submission provides valuable insight into the many ways the current system creates poverty and punishes people for living in poverty. One example is the current definition of “dependent and “spouse” in BC’s social assistance legislation.
“I’m not allowed to live with boyfriend without losing benefits. If I were allowed to live with him it would make shelter costs much more reasonable. I wish I was allowed to live with my spouse like a normal person.” – Anonymous
Small Group Discussion Report
Given our previous experience trying to reach low-wage workers and recognizing that they were not well-represented at the larger community meetings, we identified working poverty as a significant gap in the government’s consultation process. With that in mind we held two focus groups in Burnaby and Vancouver particularly focused on low-wage work.
“There was a time when you had more hope” Overall there was a high level of crisis and stress experienced by the participants, which sometimes led to hopelessness, although it was balanced by an incredible resiliency. The main issues that were raised by participants were housing, education and training, low wages and employment standards, income assistance, health and food insecurity, equity issues, and transportation. Other issues that came up included access to internet as a basic necessity, time and money for leisure, and a stronger sense of community to combat social isolation.
Community Action Network Small Group Discussions
The Community Action Network (CAN) is a community-based leadership initiative of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition. Graduates of the first Community Action Network program facilitated small group discussions at the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House.
DTES needs low-cost food amenities, and to protect existing affordable food in the neighbourhood. Supported housing providers must be audited for best practises on a regular basis. DTES residents feel trapped in the DTES due to lack of affordable transit and this impedes their ability to work, thrive, access health services, etc. DTES conditions break up families and impedes their health and thriving; more supports and services needed for those with children in the DTES. Build quality, affordable housing in the DTES and everywhere in all neighbourhoods.
You can read more submissions from BC Poverty Reduction Coalition members, supporters and allies here.