Poverty Reduction Project
One in five Surrey residents, or about 71,000 people, live in poverty. This is 71,000 too many.
We are all affected by poverty. Poverty expands health care costs, policing burdens and diminished educational outcomes. As a recent federal government report noted, 'eradicating poverty is not only the humane and decent priority of a civilized democracy, but is also essential to a productive and expanding economy'.
A diverse group of concerned citizens and professionals have come together to take action toward ending poverty in Surrey.
Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan: THIS is How We End Poverty in Surrey
Surrey's Poverty Reduction Plan, THIS is How We End Poverty in Surrey, provides a comprehensive and practical set of recommendations to eradicate poverty in Surrey.
The primary focus of the Plan is on specific actions that the City of Surrey and local community groups can take to tackle poverty, within four key policy areas:
The Fact Sheets and Maps highlight key facts and figures on poverty in Surrey.
Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition (SPRC)
The Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition was formed in 2012 to promote implementation of the Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan. The City of Surrey is an active member of the SPRC.
Connecting Community is an initative of the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition that is engaging the Surrey community to do a radical rethinking of the ways in which youth are supported when they transition from government care, at age 19, into adulthood. The Youth Aging Out of Care in Surrey Report and accompanying Fact Sheet provide a picture of the experiences of Surrey youth transitioning out of care.
In 2015 - 2016, the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition partnered with SFU Surrey to implement two cohorts of the Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change program. Surrey residents interested in making positive changes in their neighbourhoods have developed new skills and knowledge to increase the impact of their efforts. A third cohort is being planned for 2016-2017.
Refugees resettled to Canada must pay for their medical exam and travel to Canada. Since most refugees cannot afford these expenses, Canada offers them a loan. As a result, refugee families start their new life in Canada with a debt of up to $10,000. They must repay this loan with interest. SInce 2009, the City of Surrey, under the leadership of Councillor Villeneuve, has been actively adovcating for the elimination of the refugee tranportation loan program. The SPRC plans to continue to advocate on this important issue.
Learn about what community services exist in Surrey.
Surrey Libraries has also created the popular Low Cost and Free brochures. The brochures are in high demand - 15,000 of the print brochures are given out every year. The brochures address the recommendations of the Poverty Reduction Plan to increase access to information regarding low cost and free services in Surrey.
Community Engagement (2012 - 2015)
From 2012 - 2015, three community dialogues included the Surrey community in the development and implementation of the Surrey Poverty Plan. The 2013 Forum, Let's Make THIS Happen, mobilized the community around implementing the Poverty Reduction Plan. The 2015 THIS is the Change Forum focused on a collective impact approach with Donna-Jean Forster from the Tamarack Institute as the keynote speaker and facilitator.
Housing First Landlord Project (2014 - 2016)
This project identified the participation of private sector landlords as an important part of addressing homelessness. Events included a breakfast dialogue for landlords regarding homelessness, and a workshop for Surrey landlords focussed on tenant relationships and accessing government supports and incentives.
A Living Wage for Surrey Campaign 2015
This campaign was launched following the February 2015 community forum, where there was overwhelming support by attendees to pursue this activity. In partnership with the Living Wage for Families Campaign, SPRC convened a gathering in November 2015. The 40 peopel who attended learned about Living Wage and its adoption by businesses and municipalities, and discussed opportunities for launching such a campaign in Surrey.
Somali Women's Project (2013 - 2015)
This project used a community economic development approach to support a group of Somali women to develop the skills and confidence to help them move toward their dream of paid work. The women participated in workshops ranging from financial literarcy to first aid and food safe. They were connected to key community resources like libraries, rec centres and employment agencies. The 'ripple effect' of this project has been the formation of a non-profit business, Women 4 Women Foundation, with some of the original participants and project supporters. The organization is inclusive of women who may have lower literacy skills and not be able to access some employment programs.
Ripple Effect Evaluation (2015)
In 2015, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and SFU conducted an evaluation of the impact of the work of the Surrey Poverty Reduction coalition. Using a ripple effect methodology, they identified three impact areas:
- Knowledge Sharing
Seeing is Believing Tour (2014)
The Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition, together with the Social Policy Advisory Committee, invited members of service clubs in Surrey with the opportunity to learn about poverty in Surrey through the lived experiences of Surrey residents. Participants met face-to-face with clients of community organizations to better understand social issues and explore solutions
- Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan: THIS is How We End Poverty in Surrey
- Fact Sheet and Maps on poverty in Surrey
- Update on the Implementation of the Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan April 27, 2015
- Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan: Low Cost and Free Resources Feb. 3, 2014
- Poverty Reduction Plan for the City of Surrey July 9, 2012
- Update on the Development of a Poverty Reduction Plan April 23, 2012