Kelowna Poverty Meeting

A community meeting for British Columbia's first Poverty Reduction Strategy will take place in Kelowna on Friday, Jan. 19th.

Residents are invited to come and talk about how to reduce poverty in the province. Ideas shared at this in-person community meeting will help inform the Poverty Reduction Strategy that is scheduled to be released in fall 2018.

It's been a long time coming according to Shane Simpson, BC's Minister of Social Development & Poverty Reduction.  "People have been asking for a poverty reduction strategy for almost 20 years and the previous government chose not to put forward a strategy or pursue a strategy." "There's a lot of goodwill and a lot excitement and contribution out there for people who want to be part of a discussion to finally get that strategy in place in British Columbia."

Simpson says 678 thousand people in BC are currently living in poverty and over 40 percent of those people are "the working poor" meaning they're earning a paycheque but can't seem to get out of the poverty rut.  The minister is hoping the sessions will lead to solving affordability issues so that they can finally climb out.  He adds that other initiatives will be instrumental.

"You're going to see in the upcoming February budget some emphasis on child-care and on housing.  Both of which are very critical to a successful poverty reduction strategy," says Simpson. Additionally,  "Very soon the Fair Wage Commission will report on it's recommendations, around the timeline and increments for minimum wage increase."

With multiple programs designed to help those in need the minister agreed that 2017 could be a landmark year of poverty reduction for British Columbians.

Kelowna community meeting:

Date: Friday, Jan. 19, 2018
Location: Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26, 1380 Bertram St.
Time: Doors open at 5 p.m. The community meeting will run from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

If you can't attend, you can submit feedback online too.