Two Cariboo poverty reduction programs are receiving a financial boost from provincial funding.
The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction announced $50,000 to support the Every Door the Right Door project in Williams Lake and $50,000 to support a food redistribution pilot project in Quesnel.
This community social service project in Williams Lake will be comprised of many initiatives, including a digital literacy program and the development of a social enterprise program to provide opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment.
Anne Burrill, project lead for Thrive Community Poverty Reduction in Williams Lake, said the funds will be used toward four different initiatives.
There will be a series of workshops for frontline workers aimed at creating ways to connect people with the right services.
Working with the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy, the digital literacy project will provide training and access to technology.
“We are still trying to access some equipment, but digital literacy is more important now that everyone has to access so much online,” Burrill said. “If you don’t have a computer, phone or tablet it’s really difficult.”
A third program will help people who are eligible to apply for rental supplements that exist for families and seniors in B.C.
The fourth initiative will pursue the feasibility of a day labour program.
“We don’t know yet how it will work out, but we will be assessing if there is enough need in and how it can work,” Burrill said of the day labour program.
Williams Lake’s economic development officer Beth Veenkamp said the city applied for the funds in partnership with the Social Planning Council only local governments could apply for the funding.
“It’s good to have the social planning council as partners and support the things they are doing to help reduce poverty,” Veenkamp said, adding the city will continue to apply for grants to support agencies who are working on similar issues.
In Quesnel, the food distribution project will create community connections with food providers and organizations that can accept and distribute food to those in need and evaluate whether a sustainable food redistribution model can be developed long-term.
“Local governments are crucial in our efforts to reduce poverty in B.C., because the impacts of poverty are felt most keenly at the local level,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in a news release. “By supporting local governments in the development of their own poverty reduction plans and projects, we’re ensuring they have the tools and resources to make a difference. As B.C. continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we know people still need extra support, and these grants do just that.”
These projects are from the second intake of the Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program, administered by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).