B.C.’s government is committing $5 million to allow municipalities to create local initiatives the province hopes will help reduce the overall poverty rate by 25% and the child poverty rate by 50% by 2024.
As part of the TogetherBC, British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, Victoria on September 23 announced funding for the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) to carry out work under the Poverty Reduction Planning & Action program.
Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson said interested communities may apply for funding for local initiatives and plans.
“Local governments see the impacts of poverty in their communities from the front lines,” Simpson said “These grants are an opportunity for our government to work with municipalities and community organizations in identifying their most pressing local issues and developing local solutions in the fight against poverty.”
Prioritized projects will include housing, families, children and youth, education and training, employment, income and social supports.
Projects must involve key community partners, such as community-based poverty reduction organizations, people with lived experience of poverty, businesses and local First Nations organizations, the government said.
“Local governments have long advocated for a comprehensive approach to address the reality of poverty in B.C. communities,” said UBCM past president and Prince George councillor Murry Krause. He said the funding will strengthen local co-ordination and implementation of poverty reduction plans.
The BC NDP government announced In June 2019 $6 million for the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. to fund Homelessness Community Action Grants for local projects aimed at reducing and preventing homelessness.
Program applications will be open until Feb. 28, 2020, and municipalities and regional districts can partner and apply with other local governments for regional grants, including two streams of funding.
Up to $25,000 will be available to develop or update poverty reduction assessments or plans and up to $50,000 to undertake local poverty reduction projects. For regional applications, the funding maximum for both streams is $150,000.