More than $140,000 funding will be going towards poverty reduction in west Kootenay and Boundary communities.
They include the City of Nelson, the City of Kimberley, the City of Greenwood, the Village of Midway and the City of Grand Forks.
Nelson Creston MLA Michelle Mungall says 29 projects are receiving a total of $1.4 million, from a $5 million provincial grant to the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM), with individual project funding ranging from $16,000 to $150,000. Nelson alone received $24,461.
“The answers lie in the community,” Mungall told MyNelsonNow. “Of course we have our priorities that have been clearly set as a result of the broad public consultations we did across the province to create TogetherBC, and the Kootenays are very much a part of that. We want to maintain the integrity of the results from all of that so we want to make sure that we’re working with communities in a way that they are driving the initiative.”
The ‘Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program’ affects over 54 communities as part of TogetherBC. Mungall calls it B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy.
“It has the Province working with municipalities on poverty reduction plans and poverty reduction strategies,” said Mungall. “This is before COVID-19, but I think its even more relevant now with the very large number of job losses and how our region is being impacted economically by COVID-19.”
Mungall reiterated that poverty reduction isn’t just about job loss, but also lack of access to basic infrastructure like internet which also impacts the ability to search for jobs. Affordable housing is another big impact. With that, she says the problems themselves changes every 10 to five years, or even just three months ago.
“I really want to emphasize that we’re all in this together. That is not just a comforting thing to say,” Mungall added. “The only way we are going to succeed and pull through this and get to the other side is by working together.”