Community Outlines Coast Poverty Strategy for BC Government
What are the issues facing you and your neighbours in poverty right now? What would work to help you and other community members get out of poverty? These were the two questions asked of Sunshine Coast residents at the Sunshine Coast Poverty Reduction Strategy meeting at Roberts Creek Community Hall on Thursday, March 15, 2018.
According to the BC Poverty Reduction webpage (engage.gov.bc.ca/bcpovertyreduction), the poverty rate in BC “is among the worst in Canada. Too many people are struggling to make ends meet, earn a living wage, or find and keep affordable housing.” In an effort to reduce the impact of poverty, the BC government is asking for input on the unique challenges communities face and what can be done to help them thrive.
Sunshine Coast Community Services Society (SCCSS), Habitat for Humanity on the Coast, One Straw Society, Open Door Group, Sechelt Chamber of Commerce and Vancouver Coastal Health sponsored the in-person community meeting at Roberts Creek Community Hall, which featured a soup dinner crafted by Tim Bedford of Ginger Jars.
SCCSS’s Executive Director, Catherine Leach, and One Straw Society’s Kym Chi, led the guided discussions on what poverty looks like on the Sunshine Coast and how the government can best take action to improve people’s lives. There was a wide sampling of voices heard at the meeting, from members of the community who were unaware of poverty issues to those struggling with it on a daily basis.
The top three concerns among the 80 attendees included affordable housing and the lack of rentals on the coast, wages and pension income falling short of cost of living and the lack of affordable child care in our community.
SCCSS has compiled the ideas and possible solutions into a 26 page report that has been submitted to SPARC BC. The document, in it's entirety, is available below or by clicking here.