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Poverty Reduction Project

Work group talking about ways to reduce poverty in Surrey

One in five Surrey residents, or about 71,000 people, live in poverty. This is 71,000 too many.

We are all affected by poverty. Poverty expands health care costs, policing burdens and diminished educational outcomes. As a recent federal government report noted,

Eradicating poverty is not only the humane and decent priority of a civilized democracy, but is also essential to a productive and expanding economy.

A diverse group of concerned citizens and professionals have come together to take action toward ending poverty in Surrey.

Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan: THIS is How We End Poverty in Surrey

Surrey's Poverty Reduction Plan, THIS is How We End Poverty in Surrey, provides a comprehensive and practical set of recommendations to eradicate poverty in Surrey.

The primary focus of the Plan is on specific actions that the City of Surrey and local community groups can take to tackle poverty, within four key policy areas:

The Fact Sheets and Maps highlight key facts and figures on poverty in Surrey.

Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition (SPRC)

The Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition was formed in 2012 to promote implementation of the Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan. The City of Surrey is an active member of the SPRC.

Get Involved

Are you interested in making positive change in your neighbourhood? Register for the Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change, the next cohort is starting fall 2017!

Are you a Landlord with a suite to rent? The Surrey Housing First team is looking for landlords with a strong sense of community to be a part of this exciting project. Find out more: Surrey Housing First Landlord Brochure, Surrey Housing First Brochure - Punjabi.

Learn more about the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition's work by reading the SPRC Progress Report: Actions and Achievements 2012 - 2016.

Current Projects

Connecting Community to Surrey Youth Leaving Care

Connecting Community is an initative of the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition that is engaging the Surrey community to do a radical rethinking of the ways in which youth are supported when they transition from government care, at age 19, into adulthood. The Youth Aging Out of Care in Surrey Report and accompanying Fact Sheet provide a picture of the experiences of Surrey youth transitioning out of care.

Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change (CLIC)

CLIC is a partnership between the SPRC, SFU and the Beedie School of Business to build the capacity of grass-roots leaders in neighbourhoods throughout Surrey. Surrey residents interested in making positive changes in their neighbourhoods have developed new skills and knowledge, to plan and organize community-based projects and make a lasting impact on the conditions of people living with low incomes in Surrey. Three cohorts have completed the course with a fourth cohort being planned for Fall 2017 - register now!

Refugee Transportation Loans

Refugees resettled to Canada must pay for their medical exam and travel to Canada. Since most refugees cannot afford these expenses, Canada offers them a loan. As a result, refugee families start their new life in Canada with a debt of up to $10,000. They must repay this loan with interest. SInce 2009, the City of Surrey, under the leadership of Councillor Villeneuve, has been actively adovcating for the elimination of the refugee tranportation loan program. The SPRC plans to continue to advocate on this important issue.

Community Services

Learn about what community services exist in Surrey.

Surrey Libraries has also created the popular Low Cost and Free brochures. The brochures are in high demand - 15,000 of the print brochures are given out every year. The brochures address the recommendations of the Poverty Reduction Plan to increase access to information regarding low cost and free services in Surrey.

Housing First Landlord Project

The SPRC partnered with the Surrey Board of Trade and Landlord BC to encourage private landlords to rent to people who are homeless - in support of the Surrey agencies that serve people who are homeless. Previous events included a breakfast dialogue for landlords regarding homelessness, and a workshop for Surrey landlords focussed on tenant relationships and accessing government supports and incentives.

Housing First Landlord Brochures provide information to prospective landlords with a strong sense of community to be part of Housing First, where clients supported by community agencies are housed in vacant rental units. The information is also provided in Punjabi: Surrey Housing First Brochure - Punjabi.

Completed Projects

Community Engagement (2012 - 2015)

From 2012 - 2015, three community dialogues included the Surrey community in the development and implementation of the Surrey Poverty Plan.  The 2013 Forum, Let's Make THIS Happen, mobilized the community around implementing the Poverty Reduction Plan. The 2015 THIS is the Change Forum focused on a collective impact approach with Donna-Jean Forster from the Tamarack Institute as the keynote speaker and facilitator.

A Living Wage for Surrey Campaign 2015

This campaign was launched following the February 2015 community forum, where there was overwhelming support by attendees to pursue this activity. In partnership with the Living Wage for Families Campaign, SPRC convened a gathering in November 2015. The 40 peopel who attended learned about Living Wage and its adoption by businesses and municipalities, and discussed opportunities for launching such a campaign in Surrey.

Somali Women's Project (2013 - 2015)

This project used a community economic development approach to support a group of Somali women to develop the skills and confidence to help them move toward their dream of paid work. The women participated in workshops ranging from financial literarcy to first aid and food safe. They were connected to key community resources like libraries, rec centres and employment agencies. The 'ripple effect' of this project has been the formation of a non-profit business, Women 4 Women Foundation, with some of the original participants and project supporters. The organization is inclusive of women who may have lower literacy skills and not be able to access some employment programs.

Ripple Effect Evaluation (2015)

In 2015, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and SFU conducted an evaluation of the impact of the work of the Surrey Poverty Reduction coalition. Using a ripple effect methodology, they identified three impact areas:

  • Projects
  • Partnerships
  • Knowledge Sharing

Seeing is Believing Tour (2014)

The Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition, together with the Social Policy Advisory Committee, invited members of service clubs in Surrey with the opportunity to learn about poverty in Surrey through the lived experiences of Surrey residents. Participants met face-to-face with clients of community organizations to better understand social issues and explore solutions

Council Reports

Connected Strategies