The District of Stewart is receiving nearly $45,000 in grant money to reduce poverty.
Stewart’s plan is to improve food security “from a variety of angles, including providing hot meals, providing opportunities to develop cooking skills, providing emergency food services and providing the opportunity to grow food locally,” said Paul Taylor, Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) director of communications.
The District of Stewart is the only municipality in the northwest to receive funding.
In total, 54 local governments in B.C. are receiving between $16,000 and $150 thousand to undertake 29 projects. Those projects will split 1.4 million from a 5 million provincial grant to the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM). The District of Stewart is accepting $44,870.
“Receiving this grant will provide several vital benefits to the community of Stewart. As we partner with UBCM and various community stakeholders, this unified approach will improve the social, nutritional and academic well-being of vulnerable families,” said Gina McKay, mayor, District of Stewart, in a media release.
It is anticipated that the 29 projects will be completed this year and there is another intake is planned for later in 2020. The grant is part of the provincial government’s promise to work with local governments and communities to reduce poverty. The initiative is part of TogetherBC, the province’s first poverty reduction strategy.
There are fewer projects than municipalities because some local governments have partnered with each other. For example, the Resort Municipality of Whistler is partnered with the District of Squamish, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and the Village of Pemberton.
The projects aim to develop local strategies to reduce poverty, improve food security and increase access to public transportation and affordable housing.
“The dynamics of poverty change from community to community. This provincial funding program supports local governments as they work with partners to develop strategies that address the unique dynamics of poverty in local communities,” said Maja Tait, president of UBCM in the release.
According to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, all successful applications for the funding involved poverty reduction organizations, local Indigenous groups, businesses and people with lived experience.
“The funding received will assist to provide essential resources to people presently in need and will also enable training, education and support to empower sustainable healthy lifestyles in the future,” said McKay.