Poverty Reduction Planning Project - Update

City of Cranbrook & RDEK Collaborate with Social Planning Society on Poverty Reduction Plan

This spring the City of Cranbrook was successful in its application for funding, in partnership with the Regional District of East Kootenay, to develop a poverty reduction plan focusing on Cranbrook as the service hub for the region. The Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction announced funding for local government projects near the end of last year, and the Community Social Planning Society of Cranbrook and Area led the grant application process.

B.C.’s first ever poverty reduction strategy, TogetherBC, was released in March 2019. The strategy set ambitious targets to reduce the overall poverty rate in British Columbia by at least 25%, and the child poverty rate by at least 50%, by 2024. Municipalities all around the province are being financially supported to develop and implement plans and projects that could reduce poverty at the local level and align with the provincial strategy.

The Community Social Planning Society has been working on issues related to poverty for years, and were well positioned to coordinate a project focused on creating a poverty reduction plan for the City of Cranbrook and the RDEK. The treasurer of the social planning society, Donna Fields (known by many as the Executive Director of United Way East Kootenay) states, “We have supported organizations and advocacy efforts around housing, child care, and community safety, for example, but the commonality for all these areas is poverty. If we are concerned about kids in single parent families or isolated seniors, we have to look at poverty reduction.”

Consultant Russell Workun has been hired to lead the project with the guidance of an Advisory Committee consisting of a diverse group of members from the area of the study. Current work is centred on reviewing relevant statistics and related data from previous community projects and accomplishments. In the fall and winter Workun will engage with individuals, organizations, businesses and local governments to identify the current situation and issues related to poverty. Before the project wraps up in the spring of 2021, a collective impact model for collaboration to reduce the impact of poverty in our region will be established, and a poverty reduction plan completed.

The Frameworks Institute recently wrote, “The coronavirus pandemic has made clear that, in order to thrive, we must equip our society with the skills to respond, adapt, and innovate.” Diverse sectors of society have mobilized quickly to address the impacts of COVID-19, so we see now that it’s necessary to do more than ‘bystand’ – we have the power to change things in our community to set us all up for brighter days ahead.

Submitted by: The Poverty Reduction Advisory Committee

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