Poverty reduction grants addressing local needs in northern communities

Vulnerable and low-income people in Houston, Kitimat and Smithers will be better supported thanks to almost $75,000 in government funding for local poverty reduction strategies.

“Local governments are crucial in our efforts to reduce poverty in B.C. because the impacts of poverty are felt most keenly at the local level,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “By supporting local governments in the development of their own poverty reduction plans and projects, we’re ensuring they have the tools and resources to make a difference. As B.C. continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we know people still need extra support, and these grants do just that.”

These projects are from the second intake of the Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program, administered by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). UBCM supports local government plans and projects designed to reduce poverty at a local level, as well as the Province’s poverty reduction strategy, TogetherBC.

Houston, Kitimat and Smithers will each receive approximately $25,000 to create poverty reduction plans for their communities. As part of the project, the municipalities will aim to understand how their specific industries, resources and rural location impacts people’s experience of poverty in their communities.

“The needs of people in northern communities are unique,” said Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine. “We don’t always have the same services as other communities, which can impact how people experience poverty. That’s why these grants, which allow communities to make poverty reduction plans at the local level, are so important. Everyone in our region deserves the opportunity to succeed, and this funding will help them do that.”

All projects will involve key community partners, such as community-based poverty reduction organizations, people with lived experience of poverty, businesses, local First Nations or Indigenous organizations.

“Local governments have called for a deeper provincial commitment to poverty reduction for many years now,” said Brian Frenkel, president, UBCM. “Our members also recognize that poverty is contextual and that our collective response needs to reflect the unique conditions and challenges in B.C.’s communities. We appreciate the support this program is providing for the development of local strategies and approaches.”

Throughout B.C., 10 projects spanning 12 local governments will receive a total of almost $350,000 from this intake. To qualify, projects, plans and strategies must focus on one or more of TogetherBC’s priority-action areas, which include families, children and youth, education and training, housing, employment income and social supports.

Quick Facts:

  • In 2019, the B.C. government provided $5 million to UBCM to fund the Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program.
  • In 2020, 63 local governments received a total of $1.6 million for 34 poverty reduction plans and projects.
  • The program includes two streams of funding:
    • up to $25,000 to develop or update poverty reduction assessments or plans; and
    • up to $50,000 to undertake local poverty reduction projects.
  • Municipalities and regional districts can partner and apply with other local governments for regional grants.
    • For regional applications, the funding maximum for both streams is $150,000.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/initiatives-plansstrategies/poverty-reduction-strategy/togetherbc.pdf

Learn more about the UBCM Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program grants:
https://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/poverty-reduction.html

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