In its latest report First Call BC says the child poverty rate for Williams Lake is 21.1 per cent and 23.2 per cent for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. File image

In its latest report First Call BC says the child poverty rate for Williams Lake is 21.1 per cent and 23.2 per cent for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. File image

Cariboo Chilcotin child poverty rate 23.2 per cent

First Call BC’s 2017 Child Poverty Report Card a sobering reminder that one in five children in the province are living below the poverty line

One in five B.C. youth under the age of 18 were living below the poverty line in 2015, according to the latest child poverty report from First Call BC.

In Williams Lake, the percentage of children living in poverty was 21.1 per cent or 810 out of 3,840 children, while in the entire Cariboo-Chilcotin region, the percentage was 23.2 per cent, the report noted.

Tsilhqot’in National Government Chair Chief Joe Alphonse said the “high” percentage is concerning because where there is poverty a host of other issues will arise.

Referencing Williams Lake being named as the fourth most dangerous city in Canada according to Macleans Magazine Most Dangerous Places ranking last week, Alphonse said although Williams Lake’s crime rate is not as high as it used to be it is still up there.

Read More: Williams Lake named fourth “most dangerous” in Canada

“Nobody wants to see children and youth in impoverished situations and as a region, it is something we have to deal with,” Alphonse said, noting every youth should have full access to educational and recreational opportunities. “In the long-term, how poverty is going to be beaten, is with a strong emphasis and priority on training and education. Where you don’t have education you will have poverty.”

There are no easy solutions, the chief added.

“Funding levels from governments cannot sustain families in this day and age and often families are desperate.”

Karen Irvine is the health co-ordinator for Pregnancy Outreach in Williams Lake, an organization that offers support to women who are breastfeeding.

Irvine said in the 13 years she has worked there, more recently she has witnessed an “urgent” need.

“We see families here that don’t seem to be able to make it to their next pay cheque as often,” Irvine told the Tribune. “The week before cheque day we will give out a lot more diapers, food from our food bank here for clients, and it seems to me that they just cannot afford healthy food.”

The food bank, she added is funded by donations from St. Andrew’s United Church, and some assistance from Canada Safeway and private donors.

Irvine said Pregnancy Outrach is open to all families with babies up to six months old. Last week 167 people came through the door.

“We have been getting women from all walks of life coming here because sometimes it’s the social support from peers that new moms are often lacking,” Irvine added. “We have infant massage, sewing and swimming and it’s all helping. I think so many women feel isolated.”

A provincial government poverty reduction strategy committee will be coming to Williams Lake on Friday, Feb. 2, giving locals the opportunity to give their input.

The provincial government announced the tour the day First Call BC released the 2017 BC Child Poverty Report Card.

Read More: Nearly half of recently immigrated kids in B.C. are poor: report

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo Art Beat artists Tiffany Jorgensen, left, Brittany Murphy, with her daughter Ruby, 3, and Sarah Sigurdson have created a Santa painting for photo opportunities that will be placed outside their studio on Oliver Street below Caribou Ski. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake artists create Santa painting for Christmas photo ops

Cariboo Art Beat hopes it will fill a void caused by COVID-19 restrictions

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

The Bella Coola area also received a large dump of snow as seen here Friday, Nov. 27, but by the afternoon it had started to rain there. (submitted photo)
Update: More than 900 Bella Coola customers without power, expected to last overnight

Highway 20 remains closed between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola Friday, Nov. 27

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Ruby Squinas photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Newly elected Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson participated in a virtual oath ceremony with the BC Liberal Caucus on Friday, Nov. 27. Here he poses for a photograph with Kate Ryan-Lloyd, clerk of the legislature. (Screen image taken of YouTube live stream)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA participates in BC Liberal Caucus virtual oath ceremony

First-time MLA Lorne Doerkson will represent the region

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

After twice have their wedding plans altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, Suzanne Schmidt and Andrew Sturgess got married in Bakerview Park last weekend, with the only guests being their two daughters, Zoey (foreground) and Tessa. (Darren Ripka photo)
From New Zealand to Bakerview Park, B.C. couple weds in ‘backyard’

Twice scaled-down wedding ‘proof that good things still happen during bad times’

Most Read