Brainstorming ideas for poverty reduction strategy

Calling the lack of affordable housing and rentals “the number one issue,” the co-chair of a provincial poverty reduction advisory forum recently brainstormed with stakeholders in the Comox Valley.

Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver-Kensington, parliamentary secretary for poverty reduction and the co-chair of Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction’s Advisory Forum on poverty reduction, spent one day last week in the Valley gathering feedback and comments on poverty reduction for the area.

She noted B.C. is the only province in the country without a poverty reduction plan.

“The NDP campaigned (to put a plan in place) … and we’re looking at legislation this year.”

While meeting with mayors, councillors and members of the K’omoks First Nation, Elmore said while the lack of affordable housing and rentals were high atop a list of concerns, she was very impressed by the number of representatives on the homelessness coalition, and added: “there is good representation across the board.”

Currently, a public consultation process is underway in 20 communities across the province with the assistance of Shane Simpson, the minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

Elmore explained they are compiling the information from the consultations in addition to online submissions to find themes – such as housing, childcare and skills and education – but she added they also want to ensure the plan is also relevant to communities.

The consultation process will last until the end of March, but Elmore added different components will be coming out in the NDP’s budget set for February, including a comprehensive housing strategy.

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