THUNDER BAY – “We hope that Building a Better Thunder Bay for All will be endorsed by Council and embraced by the community,” stated Paul Pugh, the Chair of the Steering Committee. “Poverty reduction is an endeavour we must undertake together.” A year in the making, the Community Action Strategy to Reduce Poverty – “Building a Better Thunder Bay for All” – was presented to City Council on Monday by a community-based Steering Committee.
“Poverty diminishes our community,” said Councillor Paul Pugh, Chair of the Steering Committee, reflecting on statistics that show approximately 15,100 individuals in Thunder Bay live in poverty. “Beyond those directly living in poverty, it touches all aspects of society – the economy, housing, social structure, youth, elderly and future generations.”
The partnership project has been led by the Lakehead Social Planning Council and Poverty Free Thunder Bay with funding from the District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board and the City of Thunder Bay, consistent with the City’s 2011-2014 Strategic Plan (Action 5.2a). The objective was to develop a community-specific strategy including a clear articulation of community specific recommendations for immediate-, medium- and long-term community poverty reduction.
The Strategy is focused on four pillars as priorities for effort: housing; income and community economic development; infrastructure; inclusion and engagement. Under these pillars, there are 23 commitments, or recommendations, with specific actions to further each one.
Wide-spread consultation across Thunder Bay
The following organizations are represented on the Steering Committee that developed the Strategy through extensive community consultation:
- Age Friendly Thunder Bay
- City of Thunder Bay
- Creighton Youth Services
- District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board
- Kinna-Aweya Legal Clinic
- Lakehead Social Planning Council
- Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre
- Ontario Native Women’s Association
- Our Kids Count
- Poverty Free Thunder Bay
- Thunder Bay Accessibility Advisory Committee
- Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group
- Thunder Bay and District Labour Council
- Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce
- Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council
- Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre
- Thunder Bay Youth Strategy
- Urban Aboriginal Strategy
- United Way of Thunder Bay
Some 440 people were involved through interviews with individuals from various sectors, focus groups with people with lived experience, an Open House, Community Forum, and working groups.
A Panel will be established to guide implementation of the Strategy and an Annual Report Card will be issued.
The Strategy and related information is available at: www.lspc.ca/poverty