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.
According to the province, the poverty rate in B.C. “is among the worst in Canada.” In an effort to reduce the impact of poverty, the B.C. 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 community meeting, which featured a soup dinner crafted by Tim Bedford of Ginger Jars.
Catherine Leach, SCCSS’s executive director, and Kym Chi of One Straw Society 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 Sunshine Coast, wages and pension income falling short of the cost of living, and the lack of affordable child care.
SCCSS will compile the ideas and possible solutions into a report that will be submitted to the B.C. government. It will also be available on www.sccss.ca upon completion.
The B.C. government will continue to collect feedback and ideas through March 30, 2018. To share your thoughts, ideas and input, see https://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcpovertyreduction/submit-your-feedback/.
For more information on the Sunshine Coast Poverty Reduction Strategy, contact Leach at 604-885-5881.
– Submitted by Weegee Sachtjen, SCCSS