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Poverty Reduction Project

Work group talking about ways to reduce poverty in Surrey

Over 50 youth in Surrey 'age out' of government care each year. Young people coming out of the care system are forced into independence at 19 before they may be ready.

Read this newly released report from the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition. Learn how the Surrey community came together to support Surrey youth to thrive.

Final Report: Connecting Community to Surrey Youth Aging Out of Care

Poverty in Surrey

Over 75,000 people in Surrey live in poverty. Of these, almost 22,000 are children and youth.

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 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

The Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition (SPRC) was formed in 2012 to promote implementation of the Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan. The City of Surrey is an active member of the SPRC.

Get Involved

Are you interested in making positive change in your neighbourhood? Register for the Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change program.

Are you a Landlord with a suite to rent? The Surrey Housing First team is looking for landlords with a strong sense of community to be a part of this exciting project. Find out more: Surrey Housing First Landlord Brochure, Surrey Housing First Brochure - Punjabi.

Learn more about the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition's work by reading the SPRC Progress Report: Actions and Achievement, 2012 - 2016.

Current Projects

Connecting Community to Surrey Youth Leaving Care

Connecting Community is an initiative 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 Research Report: Youth Aging Out of Care in Surrey (2016) and accompanying Fact Sheet provide a picture of the experiences of Surrey youth transitioning out of care. The Final Report: Connecting Community to Surrey Youth Aging out of Care (2019) describes how the community supported our incredible young people from Surrey to thrive.

Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change (CLIC)

CLIC is a partnership between the SPRC, SFU and the Beedie School of Business to build the capacity of grass-roots leaders in neighbourhoods throughout Surrey. Surrey residents interested in making positive changes in their neighbourhoods have developed new skills and knowledge to plan and organize community-based projects and make a lasting impact on the conditions of people living with low incomes in Surrey.

Refugee Transportation Loans

Since 2009, the City of Surrey, has been actively advocating for the elimination of the refugee transportation loan program. The SPRC continues to advocate on this important issue.

Community Services

Learn about community services available in Surrey.

Surrey Libraries has also created 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.

Housing First Landlord Project

The SPRC partnered with the Surrey Board of Trade and Landlord BC to encourage private landlords to rent to people who are homeless – in support of the Surrey agencies that serve people who are homeless. Previous 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.

Surrey Housing First Landlord Brochures provide information to prospective landlords with a strong sense of community to be part of Housing First, where clients supported by community agencies are housed in vacant rental units. The information is also provided in Punjabi: Surrey Housing First Brochure - Punjabi.

Completed Projects

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.

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 people 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 literacy to first aid and food safe. They were connected to key community resources like libraries, recreation 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:

  • Projects
  • Partnerships
  • 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

Council Reports

Connected Strategies