On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, Vibrant Abbotsford, along with panelists from the District of Mission and a local community member, provided an overview of poverty reduction work happening in our own and neighbouring communities. The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction also presented on their plans for a BC poverty reduction strategy.
Chilliwack Healthier Community (CHC), a network of local partners that include government, community agencies, law enforcement, and business, added Poverty Reduction to its 2018 Strategic Action Plan areas of focus. CHC has since established a Poverty Reduction Task Team and are engaging outside communities on their process and strategies for developing a poverty reduction plan. As part of this work CHC invited the panelists to their Networking Breakfast to further describe their poverty reduction work. View the program (PDF)
Doris Darko, a local Supervisor for the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, provided a brief overview of upcoming changes to the ministry itself. She also announced the location for the BC Poverty Reduction Community Meeting on March 29, 2018. Kirsten Hargreaves, Manager of Social Development for the District of Mission, shared the history and current status of poverty reduction initiatives in Mission. These included Stone Soup, Circles of Support, Bridges Out of Poverty, and MAST.
Vibrant Abbotsford made three presentations:
- VA’s Poverty Reduction Work in Abbotsford: data collection and contributing factors to poverty in the local context. View the Poverty Reduction Work Presentation (PPt).
- Living wage Implementation and Advocacy: Living Wage Fraser Valley. View the Living Wage Fraser Valley Presentation (PPt).
- Why Employers Should Embrace the Living Wage – The Business Case (presented on behalf of Vancity).
The final presentation was certainly the most powerful and enlightening. Angela Vermeer, a Work BC Program Participant and UFV student, shared her testimony of how local services helped support her and her family. She specifically shared stories of how initiatives such as Sardis Doorway for Women provided her with information on how to access services and opportunities she was previously unaware of. Her story was proof that wraparound support and relationships are key to permanently lifting oneself out of poverty.