“The 22 members of our Task Force are pleased that Council has shown faith and confidence in our strategy,” said Bishop Jane Alexander, co-chair of EndPovertyEdmonton. “But now, the next stage of work begins in completing our road map that will guide our actions over the next 10 years, and set us down the path to achieving our bold goal of eliminating poverty in our city.”
In mid-September, the Task Force presented its initial strategy to City Council and then set forth on a final round of public and stakeholder consultations over the fall – hearing from more than 3,000 Edmontonians through public open houses, stakeholder engagement sessions and an online survey.
Through these sessions, from September to November, the Task Force heard from Edmontonians – including those who experience poverty – who supported the priorities on housing, education and collaborative community engagement.
As result of the fall consultations, the Task Force made some key amendments to the strategy, which included:
- ensuring that addictions and mental health services are addressed together
- acknowledging that immigrants and refugees, those with abilities challenges, and age and gender groupings all experience discrimination
- and ensuring that the needs of youth at risk and isolated seniors are addressed in the implementation road map
“A coalition is building, and we are helping to incubate the movement,” said Mayor Don Iveson, Co-chair of EndPovertyEdmonton Task Froce. “City Council's unanimous support of the strategy and advocacy to other orders of government in its implementation offers opportunities to reinvigorate their collaboration with the indigenous and newcomer communities.”
The strategy is unique in that it aims to end poverty, rather than just managing it. EndPovertyEdmonton’s Task Force brings together diverse backgrounds, experiences and expertise to ensure everything is taken into consideration.
From the 28 recommendations in the EndPovertyEdmonton strategy, the Task Force identified, through the research, six key areas that are a critical place to start and will make a significant difference to those residents living in poverty. They are:
- Eliminating racism
- Livable incomes
- Affordable housing
- Accessible and affordable transit
- Affordable and quality child care
- Access to mental health service
Over the coming months, the Task Force will continue its work on fine tuning the 10-year road map that will guide the actions of the community as a whole toward the goal of eliminating poverty in a generation. The final road map report will go to City Council in spring 2016 for approval.