Cities Reducing Poverty

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English
80 Pages
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This book explores the efforts of collaborative groups in six different Canadian cities as they work to reduce poverty, as part of Vibrant Communities, a cross-Canada effort of many cities to reduce poverty in Canada by creating partnerships that make use of the most important assets -- people, organizations, businesses, and governments. The six groups in this group are: a project that seeks to get long-term unemployed job seekers trained and transported to jobs across the sprawling region of Niagara; a coalition pressing Calgary City Council to pass (and maintain) a subsidized bus pass for people with low incomes; a grassroots network of citizens' partnership clubs in Montréal working to turn around a forgotten neighbourhood; an unusual collection of local organizations in Surrey working to get homeless day labourers back into the mainstream; a high-level roundtable of civic leaders in Hamilton mobilizing the community to make it the best place to raise a child; and a business-led group in Saint John that aims to reduce that city's poverty rate by one half.

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Published 24 April 2012
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EAN13 9781926645988
Language English

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C i t i e s
R e d u c i n g
P o v e r t yC i t i e s
R e d u c i n g
P o v e r t yCopyright © 2011, Tamarack
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means, without permission in writing from the publisher.
The opinions and interpretations in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of any of the
organizations that contribute resources to the Vibrant Communities initiative.
Published in 2012 by
BPS Books
Toronto and New York
www.bpsbooks.com
A division of Bastian Publishing Services Ltd.
www.bastianpubserv.com
Originally published in book form in 2011 by Tamarack : An Institute for Community Engagement.
Web: www.tamarackcommunity.ca
Email: tamarack@tamarackcommunity.ca
ISBN 978-1-926645-97-1 (ePDF)
ISBN 978-1-926645-98-8 (ePub)
Cover: Laura Zikovic, Tamarack, with Daniel Crack, Kinetics Design
Text design and typesetting:
Daniel Crack, Kinetics Design, www.kdbooks.caTo the growing number of local organizations and residents across Canada who have made
up their mind to end poverty in their community and are serious about tackling it
comprehensivelyC O N T E N T S
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 1
CONNECTING THE DOTS, UNTYING THE KNOTS IN NIAGARA REGION
CHAPTER 2
FAIR FARES IN CALGARY
CHAPTER 3
BUILDING MOMENTUM FOR CHANGE IN MONTRÉAL
CHAPTER4
PROJECT COMEBACK IN SURREY
CHAPTER 5
MAKING HAMILTON THE BEST PLACE TO RAISE A CHILD
CHAPTER 6
DISMANTLING THE POVERTY TRAPS IN SAINT JOHN
CHAPTER 7
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED FROM THE SIX CASE STUDIES
RESOURCES
ABOUT THE AUTHORSACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This book would not have been possible without the contributions of a great number of people.
The first and obvious thank-you goes to the writing and editorial team members who put this book
together. Eric Leviten-Reid, Garry Loewen, Mike Toye, Liz Weaver, and Mark Cabaj have all played
a variety of roles; each researched and wrote drafts of the community stories, while Mark prepared
the Introduction and chapter on conclusions drawn from the case studies covered. More about these
writers may be found at the end of this book. As well, Anne Makhoul of the Caledon Institute of
Social Policy has been the faithful and productive scribe for Vibrant Communities since 2005 and
once again displayed her editorial and writing skills.
In the end, however, these authors were but scribes who documented the experiences of people
living and working in their communities. The list of these contributors is long, and includes:
Job Bus in Niagara: Peter Papp (former Executive Director of Opportunities Niagara),
Nancy Sutton (Job Bus Coordinator), Lori Watson (Manager, Community Services,
Social Assistance and Employment Opportunities, Niagara Region), Sarah Pennisi
(Director, Social Assistance and Employment Opportunities, Niagara Region), Tony
Chiecca (Human Resources Manager, Niagara 21st Group), and Tony Silversti
(Evaluation Consultant)
Fair Fares in Calgary: Colleen Huston (Executive Director, Disability Action Hall),
Bonnie Pacaud (Disability Action Hall), Ramona Johnston (former Executive Director of
Vibrant Communities Calgary), Dan Meades (current Executive Director of Vibrant
Communities Calgary), Joan Farkas (City of Calgary, Community and Neighbourhood
Services), and Michelle Kristinson (MS Society of Calgary)
Saint-Michel (Montréal): Yves Lévesque (Director, VSMS), Pierre Durocher, and Jean
Panet-Raymond, staff, volunteer, and contractor with Vivre Saint-Michel and a large
volume of previous reports, stories, and evaluations of the initiative
Project Comeback in Surrey: Susan Keeping (Executive Director), Judy Peterson (New
Initiatives Coordinator), and Nola Crocker (Team Leader), all with the Newton
Advocacy Group Society
Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction: Mark Chamberlain (Trivaris), Tom Cooper
(Director, Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction), Joe-Anne Priel (Community
Services, City of Hamilton), Paul Johnson (City of Hamilton), Sheree Meredith
(Hamilton Community Foundation), Howard Elliot (Hamilton Spectator), Bill Medeiros
(citizen), and Carolyn Milne (Hamilton Community Foundation)
Vibrant Communities Saint John: Wendy MacDermott (Coordinator, Vibrant
Communities Saint John), Cathy Wright (Social Planner), and Monica Chaperlin
(Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative)
In order to make sense of these diverse efforts, we have leaned heavily on a number of great
thinkers and organizations in the fields of social policy and community development. Prolific policy
research by Sherri Torjman, Ken Battle, and Michael Mendelson of the Caledon Institute of Social
Policy has yielded a wealth of insight into the nature of poverty in Canada as well as promising
policy responses. Systematic research and rigorous analysis, on comprehensive community initiatives,
by Anne Kubisch and Pat Auspos at the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change have
been equally influential. Other organizations whose ideas you will find referenced throughout the
document include: the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, Social Innovation
Generation@Waterloo, the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto, and the Centre for Community
Renewal in British Columbia.
We are indebted to the many organizations that funded Vibrant Communities Canada; without their
help, the opportunity to experiment and learn about a new approach to poverty would not have beenpossible. Alan Broadbent and the Maytree Foundation, Bill Young through his family fund at the
Hamilton Community Foundation, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, the Ontario
Trillium Foundation, and RBC Financial Group funded a significant part of the VC initiative. Scores
of organizations funded the work of the more than one dozen local communities that participated in the
Vibrant Communities learning network.
The financial contribution and role played by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation were central
to the entire Vibrant Communities enterprise. In addition to the millions of dollars the foundation gave
directly to communities to support local action, it also covered some of the costs of the national
supports in the initiative’s later years, allowing research and the production of materials such as this
book. More importantly, Tim Brodhead, Dana Vocisano, Johanne Moerhing, and the late and much
missed Katharine Pearson were full partners in stewarding Vibrant Communities and were deeply
committed to the learning process that continues to permeate the project.
Finally, the biggest thank-you goes to the people and organizations that were involved in the 16
local collaborations that made up the Vibrant Communities network over the past 10 years. Form west
to east, they were: B.C.’s Capital Region, Surrey, Abbotsford, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon,
Winnipeg, Waterloo Region, Hamilton, Niagara Region, the Saint-Michel district of Montréal,
TroisRivières, Saint John, Halifax (briefly), Sydney (briefly), and St. John’s. These collaborations did the
heavy lifting by experimenting with new and ambitious approaches to reducing poverty. They also
shared their experiences and insights generously and honestly with their peers across the country,
exhibiting the best spirit of the learning community.
PAUL BORN, PRESIDENT
TAMARACK