LETHBRIDGE: The City is set to launch its first comprehensive poverty reduction strategy. The community and social development committee announced the first steps of the plan Friday, which include a roundtable meeting with community stakeholders on Tuesday, November 15.
"What we need to do is address the real roots of poverty, what causes it, so we can give people a hand up to help," said Ald. Jeff Carlson, one of the people spearheading the initiative. There are 11,000 people living in poverty in Lethbridge today, which is the third highest rate in the province after Calgary and Edmonton. The "low-income cut-off" is a salary of less than $18,000 a year.
Carlson added that families who struggle to make ends meet have an economic as well as a social impact on the city. "Really, poverty affects every segment of society, every person in Lethbridge. So any organization, any person, place or thing that wants to come out and be involved, we want to see you at the table." The committee will adapt practices from a method called "Vibrant Communities," a poverty reduction strategy that's been tested in other Canadian cities. Council has already set aside $30,000 for the plan.