The B.C. Poverty Reduction Coalition has high hopes for Tuesday’s budget announcement.
The provincial government introduced legislation in October that required a poverty reduction strategy to be released by March 31, 2019.
The coalition is expecting funding towards the initiative will be included in the 2019 budget – to be released Tuesday.
“We’re hoping to see significant investments. We’ve been waiting a long time for movement on poverty reduction in B.C,” said Trish Garner, community organizer with the B.C. Poverty Reduction Coalition.
“What we’re really looking for is investments in tackling deep poverty – for us that is really looking at…about 180,000 folks on basic income and disability assistance, trying to survive on deeply inadequate rates.”
The B.C. budget will be released tomorrow and we’re waiting with bated breath to see the investments in B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy! Here's why we're hopeful! https://t.co/wnwxtLEiMg We'll be in the budget lock-up tomorrow and will send you news as soon as we get out!— BC Poverty Reduction (@PovReductionBC) February 18, 2019
Garner says implementing the plan will need to involve a coordinated approach across multiple ministries including housing and child and family development.
“We’re looking for targeted approach in ministries that really represents there are folks over-represented in poverty,” she said.
Those over-represented groups include Indigenous people, single women, single mothers, children, new immigrants, refugees and people with mental and physical disabilities.
Garner believes the provincial government did a good job consulting with people living in poverty for the What We Heard About Poverty in B.C. report – released in 2018.
“They did a good job addressing the barriers in getting people to talk and come out,” she said. “They did a good consultation process and what we heard come out of that [process] is great – it really describes the issues we’ve been hearing about for many years.”
“I really hope that this budget will match the What We Heard report - because they really did hear from people living in poverty in B.C.”
Garner said funding needs to be improved for transit, health care, child care, housing and more in order to properly tackle B.C.’s widespread poverty.