TogetherBC is the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy. File photo

TogetherBC is the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy. File photo

Strategy aims to cut B.C. poverty rate by a quarter by 2024

  • Dec. 21, 2020 8:30 a.m.

Local governments have an opportunity to apply for the second round of the Province’s Poverty Reduction Planning & Action Program grants to help develop local strategies and solutions to address poverty.

As part of TogetherBC — the first provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy — the Province provided $5 million to the Union of B.C. Municipalities for the grant program, initiated last year. In the previous intake, 63 local governments received a total of $1.6 million for 34 poverty reduction plans and projects.

Applications for the second intake will be accepted until midnight March 5.

“These grants help local governments develop their own poverty reduction plans and projects that directly support vulnerable and low-income people in their communities,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “TogetherBC recognizes we all need to work together to reduce poverty.”

Government will look at funding new projects, plans and strategies that focus on one or more of TogetherBC’s priority action areas, including:

* housing;

* families, children and youth;

* education and training;

* employment;

* income;

* social supports.

Projects must involve key community partners, such as community-based poverty reduction organizations, people with lived experience of poverty, businesses, local First Nations or Indigenous organizations.

“Poverty remains a persistent reality in too many B.C. communities,” said Brian Frenkel, UBCM president and Vanderhoof councillor. “This program strengthens the alignment between local initiatives and the goals identified in TogetherBC, and provides valuable support to strengthen local planning and improve supports to lower income residents.”

TogetherBC is the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy. It is a cross-government approach to reducing the overall poverty rate by 25 per cent, and the child poverty rate by 50 per cent, by 2024.

Interested communities are encouraged to apply for funding to support local initiatives and plans.