Council Approves Calgary Poverty Reduction Strategy

Post Date: Tuesday, May 28, 2013
City Council Approves Calgary Poverty Reduction Strategy

UPDATE: Watch Mayor Nenshi discuss the Calgary Poverty Reduction Strategy on Global TV.

Calgary, AB: Now that city council has approved the bold targets of the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative, it’s time for Calgarians to pull together and collaborate on reaching these goals, according to both Mayor Naheed Nenshi and United Way of Calgary and Area’s President and CEO Lucy Miller.

The CPRI, jointly funded by The City and United Way, presented a long-term strategy to significantly reduce poverty in our city and to engage all Calgarians in its implementation.

“Poverty is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted solution,” said Mayor Nenshi. “Co-chairs Steve Allan and Cathy Williams have been amazing stewards for this strategy and I thank the many, many Calgarians who are dedicated to ending poverty in our city who helped get us to this point. The result is a unique approach that puts community first by focusing poverty prevention efforts where it affects all Calgarians the most: in our neighbourhoods. Building ‘community hubs’ where people can gather, access resources and create economic opportunities in their neighbourhoods is one innovative way to accomplish this.”

“If any one of us finds ourselves slipping into poverty, we should know exactly who in our community we can turn to for help and have the resources we need to get back on track,” he said.

United Way’s Lucy Miller echoed these sentiments, reinforcing the sense of community which has emerged as a critical component of tackling the issue.

“Picture Calgary as a grid of opportunity,” said Miller. “We’re all better off when everyone in our community can plug into these opportunities and reach their full potential. Addressing the underlying causes of poverty benefits everyone. The plan laid out by the CPRI will make our communities healthier, happier and more prosperous.”

The report recommendations provided a community-based approach to reducing and preventing poverty that require coordinated effort from business, government, and the social sectors. The report can be accessed at www.enoughforall.ca. Next steps include implementation of the strategy with the governance of a stewardship board and support from a staffed secretariat. The work of the CPRI over the next seven months will be to establish the stewardship board and implementation teams and to develop detailed implementation plans and associated resource requirements.

Backgrounder

The full CPRI strategy report may be found online at www.enoughforall.ca. We have included some highlights below:

Issue: Building Community. Calgarians are worried about a loss of community, and rebuilding community is the starting point for poverty reduction.
Recommendation: Establish community hubs in places where Calgarians live, work and play. These will:
  • create a heightened opportunity to get to know each other better
  • ensure access to safe, appropriate, and affordable housing options
  • reduce transportation stresses
  • provide access to needed amenities—including basic needs such as food and childcare—are within walking distance
  • reduce stigma and stereotypes of poverty
Issue: Employment. Most low-income Calgarians are already working. Calgarians don’t just need jobs, we need good jobs.

Recommendation: Create the conditions for quality job creation. This includes:
  • encouraging progressive business practices
  • creating local community economic development opportunities, such as cooperatives
Issue: Financial Vulnerability. Financial stress makes us all vulnerable, and many Calgarians have high levels of debt and little savings.

Recommendation: Reduce financial vulnerability and prevent poverty from happening in the first place. This includes:
  • providing financial education to reduce financial vulnerability
  • creating savings opportunities
  • restricting the activities of payday lenders
Issue: Access to Services. Calgary has a vast network of agencies, but getting services one needs can be complex and frustrating.

Recommendation: Make services client-centred. This includes:
  • improving service connections to make them better and more timely and prevent a crisis from spiralling out of control
  • creating a one-stop entry point for services
- Posted by Daorcey from Mayor Nenshi's team