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Community Takes Action to End Poverty in Surrey

Young mother with her two children on her lap.

July 09, 2012

Surrey – The City of Surrey, in partnership with Vibrant Surrey and a host of community organizations launched the new Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan today, a practical and specific set of recommended actions designed to eradicate poverty in Surrey.

Rather than concentrating on certain population groups, the comprehensive plan focuses on issues that can make a difference for all low-income people and vulnerable residents, including children and seniors. It includes 19 priorities and 75 recommendations and is organized into four key policy areas: access to affordable housing and transportation; income that covers living expenses; and supports that promote health, well-being, and inclusion.

“This plan represents a commitment by the community to take action to end poverty in Surrey. Over 100 people have collaborated to develop practical solutions that will make a real difference in the lives of all low-income people living in our city,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. She adds, there are many innovative programs already underway to address challenges in specific policy areas, but this new plan is Surrey’s first comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.

Some of the recommendations include: reduce parking standards for new residential development with good transit access (will encourage transit-oriented communities and reduce the cost of housing); enhance the Surrey Rent Bank (an effective housing stability strategy); develop new opportunities to reduce employment barriers; increase awareness around free early learning and school readiness programs.

“This new plan gives us a solid foundation to work from and will establish a new benchmark for taking care of vulnerable people in our community. It outlines concrete actions that will help break the cycle of poverty for a wide variety of people,” says Councillor Judy Villeneuve, Chair of the Social Planning Advisory Committee. She adds the plan outlines how to implement the recommendations, including the establishment of a collaborative community roundtable with representatives from government, non-profit, and other groups.

While the strategy includes a local role to advocate for federal and provincial action to support the recommendations, it is primarily focused on actions that the City of Surrey and local community groups can take to tackle poverty.

The strategy was developed in partnership between Vibrant Surrey, the City of Surrey, the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society, the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Task Force, the Centre for Inter-disciplinary Research: Community Learning and Engagement (CIR:CLE) at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, SPARC BC and the Fraser Health Authority.

For more information, please visit: www.surrey.ca/plans-strategies/11554.aspx or www.vibrantsurrey.ca/

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor
604.375.4584

Alice Sundberg
Manager of Projects and Partnerships
Vibrant Surrey Poverty Reduction Society
604-253-1325
askalice@shaw.ca