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Salmon Arm approves application for $50,000 grant to help reduce stigma of poverty

Awareness campaign seen as key step to help community members better understand impacts of poverty
If grant application for $50,000 successful, campaign in Salmon Arm would attempt to reduce stigma around poverty and promote social inclusion. (File photo)

A second grant is being applied for with the goal of finding ways to reduce poverty in Salmon Arm.

In 2019, city council directed staff to apply for a Together BC, UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program grant.

Out of the $25,000 grant the city received, a contract awarded to SPARC BC resulted in a 70-page Social Impact Assessment presented to council in August 2021, which was intended help reduce poverty locally.

At council’s Jan. 21, 2022 meeting, staff asked for council’s support for a second application to the same UBCM program, this one for $50,000 under Stream 2. The intent of this stream is to support communities to undertake local projects to reduce poverty .

In a report to council at the Jan. 21 meeting, Erin Jackson, director of corporate services, wrote: “Based on the recommendations, staff believe that engaging a consultant to develop and execute an awareness campaign to reduce stigma around poverty and promote social inclusion would support all objectives.”

The Social Impact Assessment report had identified five proposed strategic directions. They were: “• create the conditions of economic success for all citizens; • build effective partnerships to promote innovation; • adopt an equity-based intersectional approach; • improve access to services and supports for some groups; and • continue to celebrate the strengths of the community.”

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Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond, who chairs the city’s social impact committee, said an awareness campaign “was identified as a key step in reducing poverty in the community around destigmatizing and helping community members better understand the impact of living in poverty.”

She noted only municipalities, regional districts or First Nations can apply for the funds.

“We also have heard from our own city bylaw officers that sometimes the stigma around homelessness makes situations more difficult and more challenging. So in a way this is upstreaming information and community building that will help the agencies better do their work…”

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren said she was having difficulty understanding what the money would be spent on.

“Is it an education thing where people can come and learn about it? Is it a series of campaign posters, commercials, that sort of thing to talk about the impacts of poverty? I have no problem applying for the money and I’ll vote in favour of the motion obviously, I’m just trying to get an idea of what the money is going to be used for.”

Wallace-Richmond said part of the work, if the grant comes through, will be working out best tactics.

“It could be any combination of that,” she said, referring to Lindgren’s question. “You don’t want to go into the funding with a prescribed or predetermined outcome in mind. I’m confident that (with) the amount of time and talent in social agencies here in Salmon Arm we can come up with something that will be effective and appropriate for us.”

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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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