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Surrey Community Joins Forces to Reduce Poverty

Young mother with her two children on her lap.

April 23, 2012

Surrey – A new Surrey poverty reduction project is moving forward and will be completed in the coming months, according to a new report being presented to Council this evening. It’s called ‘this IS HOW WE END POVERTY IN SURREY’ and it will contain specific recommendations, goals and tasks on how the city can improve transportation, housing, income and support for low-income people.

“By working in collaboration with our dedicated community partners we will find new ways of successfully addressing the issues surrounding poverty, and help break the low-income cycle many families are unfortunately living through,” says Mayor Dianne Watts.

The Project is being led by Vibrant Surrey, with the City of Surrey and other agencies being active partners in this collaborative community project. To date, the project has resulted in the development of 12 fact sheets that compile existing data on poverty. A community dialogue was held in March to engage stakeholders and identify strategies for addressing poverty in Surrey. The research and community feedback will be used to develop a Surrey Poverty Reduction Action Plan, which will be forwarded to Council this summer.

“We know that in order to lift families out of poverty we need to focus on providing accessible transportation, affordable housing, well-paying employment, and supports such as childcare and access to education,” says Councillor Judy Villeneuve, Chair of the Social Planning Advisory Committee.

The fact sheets highlight new data showing there are 433,500 people across Metro Vancouver living in poverty, representing 21 per cent of the population. 70,500 people, or one in five, are living in poverty in Surrey, representing 16 per cent of the regional total.

In addition, it was recently announced that Surrey was one of seven communities selected for a pilot Community Poverty Reduction Strategy Project, being led by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, which will focus on families with children who are living in poverty.

The Surrey poverty reduction project partners include Vibrant Surrey, the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society, the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Task Force, Fraser Health Authority, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the City of Surrey. Councillor Villeneuve, Chair of the Social Planning Advisory Committee, along with staff from the Planning and Development Department and Engineering Department have been representing the City on the project team.

For more information on the project, please visit: http://www.surrey.ca/plans-strategies/11102.aspx

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor
604.375.4584