The City of Delta is taking the next steps to do more to assist those experiencing poverty.
Council last week agreed with a staff recommendation to submit an application for $50,000 in funding to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Poverty Reduction and Action program to hire a part-time poverty reduction coordinator for one year to address priority issues identified in Delta’s Social Action Plan.
The city two years ago received a grant of $25,000 for a first stream of the UBCM program to conduct a poverty needs assessment and develop a poverty reduction action plan for Delta.
Delta’s Poverty Reduction Plan was presented to council last May and helped form the Delta Social Action Plan, which was recently endorsed by council.
The social action plan includes 20 actions to reduce poverty and improve food security in the community.
The proposed poverty reduction coordinator would report to the city’s social planning manager, undertaking actions developed in consultation with the Delta Poverty Reduction Action group and Delta’s Community Voices Table.
The city’s poverty reduction action initiatives will include, among other things, development of a Delta Citizen’s Academy “that aims to build and elevate leadership skills and confidence of community members with experience of poverty to be more influential change-makers in their community.”
The pilot program will include 15 residents.
“We know that poverty is not just about money - belonging is a big part of the journey and discrimination and stigma make it harder for marginalized residents to access services, get jobs and feel at home,” a report to council adds.
According to the Delta Poverty Reduction Action Plan report last year, while the city is a relatively affluent community, with a smaller proportion of low-income residents than that of Metro Vancouver, higher average annual household incomes, fewer homeless people, and a lower crime rate, pockets of poverty do exist throughout the community.
It impacts a disproportionate number of seniors, youth, immigrants, Indigenous residents and people with disabilities.
Current estimates show that around 10,000 people in Delta live below the poverty line (about 10 per cent), the report notes.
That number increases to 14 per cent for visible minority groups and 30 per cent for recent immigrants. Those groups are especially vulnerable during this period of high inflation and the rising cost of living.
Last year, the city also received $50,000 from the UBCM program for the 2022/23 fiscal year to improve food security, improve accessibility to city services and programs for vulnerable population groups and build community collaborations to address systemic poverty issues in Delta.