Poverty reduction initiative endorsed by city
United Way of Calgary worked with city to develop 'Enough For All' plan
The city has given the green light for a new initiative aimed at getting Calgarians out of poverty.
The goals of the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative (CPRI) — developed jointly by the city and the United Way of Calgary over the past nine months — were approved by council on Monday.
United Way CEO Lucy Miller said the initiative is partly about being more efficient.
"So we're looking at as a community coming together and maximizing the resources that we have and using them in ways that have a greater impact."
The CPRI "Enough For All" final report sets out four broad ways to tackle poverty in Calgary from a structural, systemic perspective rather than applying Band-Aid solutions:
- Building community: setting up community hubs so that services are available in all areas of the city.
- Employment: "Most low-income Calgarians are already working. Calgarians don’t just need jobs, we need good jobs," said the report. The CPRI recommends creating employment opportunities through co-operatives, for example.
- Financial vulnerability: Because many Calgarians have high levels of debt and little savings, the CPRI recommends providing financial education, helping create savings opportunities and restricting the activities of payday lending businesses.
- Access to services: "Calgary has a vast network of agencies, but getting services one needs can be complex and frustrating," the report said. It recommends creating one-stop entry points for Calgarians in poverty to get the help they need in a client-centred setting.
"Instead of having to fill out a form in a million different places to access a service — imagine having to tell your story again and again — this is about only having to tell your story once and then you giving permission for people to access that story," said Miller.