Central Alberta joins Canadian cities reducing poverty 

  • Jan. 30, 2013 3:52 p.m.

The Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance (CAPRA) recently launched Red Deer as a member of Vibrant Communities Canada: Cities Reducing Poverty – an association that will give CAPRA access to support and learning from across the country.

The group was welcomed into Vibrant Communities at a lunch session in Red Deer featuring guest speaker Liz Weaver from the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement. Community leaders from across central Alberta will attend the session, which will focus on engagement between regional leaders and officials who are interested in planning to reduce poverty through a systemic and universal approach.

CAPRA is a group of local not-for-profit agencies and individuals that has been collecting community perceptions and input regarding poverty and its impact on central Alberta.

“We want people to join the poverty reduction movement that CAPRA is creating, and local champions are key,” said Tricia Haggarty-Roberts, CAPRA co-chair. “Red Deer has been a leader in the area of homelessness with the Mayor’s Task Force. We can be a leader in poverty reduction, which is an achievable goal, as well.”

CAPRA will use its membership in Vibrant Communities and local feedback to develop a clear focus for their efforts in the coming year.

“Poverty is viewed as a complex issue, but CAPRA is working to break down those complexities and determine some tangible tasks for our community and our leaders to take on,” said Amanda Ens, CAPRA coordinator. “The poverty reduction strategies that CAPRA is working on are very different from poverty alleviation – it is more than food banks, welfare and handouts.”

The province is working on a poverty reduction plan and CAPRA wants Red Deer to be prepared.

“The provincial government recognizes that there are systemic changes to be made,” said Ens. “CAPRA plans to assist leaders throughout Central Alberta in making good policy decisions, and getting our community ready for when provincial strategies roll out, which will ultimately assist those in poverty.”

CAPRA looks forward to rolling out strategies for Central Alberta in the coming months, officials said. The group has already achieved success in raising awareness about the impacts of poverty on the region, and they are anxious to continue their forward momentum.

“We believe in inspiring action,” said Haggarty-Roberts. “Together we can make a difference, and reduce poverty in Central Alberta.”

– Fawcett