Poverty is a sad reality for some people in the Comox Valley. Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Poverty is a sad reality for some people in the Comox Valley. Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Project takes a hard look at poverty in the Comox Valley

Objective is to reduce poverty in the Comox Valley by 25 per cent over four years

A regional Poverty Assessment and Reduction Strategy aims to reduce poverty in the Comox Valley by 25 per cent over the next four years. The draft project also aims to understand the challenges and barriers faced by people experiencing poverty, and to identify gaps in services.

The strategy is a partnership between local governments, the K’ómoks First Nation, the Coalition to End Homelessness, the Community Health Network and the Social Planning Society. It builds upon insights gathered through a regional Housing Needs Assessment and the Comox Valley Child Care Action Plan, as well as efforts of local service providers and organizations.

The strategy considers the following focus areas: housing, social supports, food security, livable income, affordable transportation, social inclusion, and families, children and youth.

Urban Matters conducted a community survey of 213 participants, 14 interviews with service providers, and sharing circles with people with lived experience. Consultants found that cost of living and housing affordability were the top two barriers faced by people. There is also a significant need for housing that is accessible and connected to public transportation.

“Often, individuals are needing to make significant tradeoffs in their lives,” Erin Welk of Urban Matters said in a presentation to the regional district board May 11. “One of these tradeoffs relate to healthy food.”

Nearly half the survey respondents did not have access to nutritious food year-round. Oftentimes, people do not have enough money to cover an unexpected cost, Welk added.

Most survey respondents indicated a need for mental health services.

A Game Changer Workshop Thursday, May 20 will aim to identify priority areas and ideas for poverty reduction in the region. It also aims to build relationships to generate change and increase collaboration across organizations.

“The reality is that many in our community struggle with poverty,” Courtenay director Doug Hillian said, noting a link between early learning disadvantages and poverty.

He questioned if the Valley has unique challenges, or if the region’s needs are a reflection of every B.C. community. Welk said accessibility and transportation challenges are unique to the Comox Valley.

Area B director Arzeena Hamir said the CV Child Care Collaborative is considering some innovative models of bringing programs into rural areas. She hopes the group can make a presentation to the board.

“I think it speaks to many of the issues that are brought up here around the isolation of young families in the rural areas,” Hamir said.

The Poverty Assessment and Reduction Strategy is expected to be complete by June 29.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

The Kus-kus-sum site had been a sawmill on the Courtenay River. File photo
Restoration of Kus-kus-sum area in Courtenay to begin June 21

Restoration at the Kus-kus-sum site will begin June 21. This will be… Continue reading

The Bayview is temporarily closed to deal with the effects of a sprinkler in one room that was tampered with. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Bayview Hotel in Courtenay closed for now due to water mess

Hotel clarifies that only one sprinkler was tampered with and activated

A rendering shows a “mini urban bazaar” for very small businesses hub proposed in Cumberland. File image, Cumberland staff report
Urban bazaar proposal in Cumberland takes next step

Council approved permit applications but have some concerns about parking

Craft Brewing and Malting program student Ellie Hadley plans to use her newfound skills and knowledge to set up a distillery in Port Alberni. (PHOTO COURTESY LEE SIMMONS)
Something’s brewing with North Island College’s newest program

Port Alberni grad Ellie Hadley hopes to turn new skills into thriving business

Nurse and educator Carol Tinga was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. The community has raised more than $89,000 to help reduce financial stress so that Tinga and her family and focus on treatment and enjoy their time together. Photo submitted
Valley stepping up to support nurse who cared for many

A fundraiser has raised more than $89,000 for Carol Tinga who was diagnosed with cancer

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Stanley Fischer, right, died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Victoria police not reopening investigation into man’s 1981 death while in custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found in his jail cell

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

Most Read