What is the current state of poverty in Nelson? What can we do at a local level to reduce poverty in our community?
These are questions members of the Leadership Round Table for Together Nelson have come together to better understand in order to create a four-year action plan, complete with measures and targets, to reduce poverty in Nelson.
Nelson is a great place to live, but not everyone is thriving in our community. In 2019, just over one in six of Nelson’s community members (17 per cent) were living in poverty — that is 1,931 adults and children in our community who struggle to make ends meet.
Poverty touches all communities across Canada. However, rural poverty rates have consistently exceeded urban rates since the 1960s and the pandemic’s impact on employment has highlighted that many live pay cheque to pay cheque with no financial cushion to weather a sudden change in employment. On top of the many people experiencing poverty, many more are vulnerable to it.
As part of Together BC’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, funding was made available to extend poverty reduction planning to the local level and offer support to local governments to reduce poverty. Nelson is one of 29 B.C. communities to receive Together BC funding. This funding, combined with funding from Columbia Basin Trust, is helping Nelson at its Best bring together community members with living, or lived, experience of poverty with thought leaders across the city’s business, government, Indigenous and Metis communities and community-based, non-profits to help steer the design and development of the action plan.
In 2021, community members across diverse demographics, local businesses, local government and government offices, along with social sector and non profits will be invited to participate in engagement activities to further inform Together Nelson about what the current state of poverty in Nelson looks like, to identify what changes our community would like to see that can address poverty at the local level, and to brainstorm and prioritize collaborative solutions than can be implemented that address and reduce poverty.
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