The Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance (CAPRA) held an all-day seminar to discuss battling poverty in Central Alberta.
The event, Prosperity For All: Preparing Red Deer for poverty reduction by creating a Vibrant Community was well attended and Co-chair for CAPRA Tricia Haggarty-Roberts was pleased to see different populations represented by the attendees of the meeting.
Liz Weaver, VP of the Tamarack Institute and lead for Vibrant Communities Canada, was one of the speakers at the seminar and she shared the vision that Red Deer is a part of.
The vision is to come to a day when 100 cities and communities from all across Canada connect together to reduce poverty for over one million Canadians. By creating Vibrant Canadian Communities it is possible to significantly reduce the human, social and economic cost of poverty. The goal is to have aligned poverty reduction strategies in cities, provinces and the federal government, which will result in reduced poverty for one million Canadians.
“Poverty in Red Deer is certainly broad,” said Haggarty-Roberts. “We have individuals who can’t afford the cost of food. It is a choice between rent and food. We have people who are working and yet cannot meet all of their bills, individuals who use shelters, or who are just struggling. We see a lot of couch surfing, and kids that are affected. We see seniors that are on waiting lists for affordable housing. It’s a wide cross.”
According to Mayor Morris Flewwelling Red Deer has made progress in the past nine years when it comes to the area of housing.
Haggarty-Roberts acknowledged the importance of housing when it comes to poverty. “We know that housing and homelessness is one piece of the poverty puzzle,” said Haggarty-Roberts. There are nine other key investment areas for investment for a Poverty Reduction Strategy including education, demand-driven jobs and skills training and upgrading, appropriate income supplementation and strong social infrastructure.
These 10 priority, key investment areas were what the groups were discussing at the seminar. CAPRA cross-laid these areas with eight priority populations that are specific to Central Alberta. The six major ones include aboriginals, people with disabilities, recent immigrants, seniors, single parents and women.
“These are populations that we are going to cross with affordable housing, early childhood development education, demand-driven jobs, and if we can localize into these areas with those populations we think we can actually make some change,” said Haggarty-Roberts.