The poverty reduction strategy was contracted to the Resource Centre by local governments with the objective of developing an overall strategy and action plan for poverty reduction on the lower Sunshine Coast.
The goals were to:
- Identify short-term actions to help reduce poverty
- Provide suggestions for long-term strategies and policy changes
- Offer recommendations for local organizations to put into action
The conclusions of the report are published in the 47-page Strategic Framework for Action on Poverty Reduction. An Executive Summary is also available, as well as the Poverty Reduction Lens (Appendix B of the Report).
The project identified that a poverty reduction strategy must address the impact of systemic conditions and social inequalities.
Key findings from the report revealed that:
- 1 in 4 children live in poverty, and many go to school hungry
- 18% of residents live in poverty
- Over ½ of single-parent households live in poverty
- Homelessness increased by 40% from 2018 to 2020
- 300 seniors are on the waitlist for 150 senior housing units
- 100 applicants have applied for 40 new supportive housing units in Gibsons
- Almost 80% of parents can’t find licensed child care for their kids, limiting their ability to earn a living
- Sechelt ranked third in Canada for residents spending more than half their income on rent—considered a “crisis level of spending” (Canadian Rental Housing Index 2018).
The top four priority recommendations in the strategic framework include:
- The creation of a collaborative Social Planning Council. This would address duplication, gaps and fragmentation in actions plans and services related to poverty reduction.
- Supporting a Housing Planning Table (already underway) to plan, advocate for and secure funding for the delivery of more housing solutions (working with the Social Planning Council)
- Implementing the recommendations and target goals of the Sunshine Coast Child Care Action Plan of 2020
- To implement a communications strategy to increase awareness of poverty and build support for action.
The project forms part of the BC Government’s first-ever poverty reduction strategy, known as TogetherBC, which aims to reduce overall poverty and make living more affordable for British Columbians. The project is funded by the province and administered by the Union of BC Municipalities. We are grateful to the shíshálh Nation for supporting the project.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy accompanies other important community work, such as:
- The Town of Gibsons Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Assessment (November 2020)
- The Sunshine Coast Child Care Action Plan (February 2020)
- The Sunshine Coast Foundation Vital Signs Reports
- An in-person meeting with 80 community stakeholders to discuss poverty on the Coast (March 2018).
- Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy
The Resource Centre engaged two local consultants, Betty Baxter, MA and Pat Feindel, PhD to use their extensive community development and social justice experience to develop a clear picture of poverty on the Coast. Through information-gathering techniques, like interviews and public engagement sessions, and the composition of an advisory committee, the aim was to develop an overall strategy and action plan for poverty reduction on the Sunshine Coast.
This project was funded by the District of Sechelt, through a grant by the Union of BC Municipalities.