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Poverty Reduction 

To explore what poverty looks like for local communities in the Cowichan Region, Social Planning Cowichan has been leading engagement on two poverty reduction projects: The CommUNITY Together to End Poverty - Hw-nuts'ulwum (as one) project in Ladysmith/Stz'uminus and The Movin' On Up Cowichan Lake Poverty Reduction project. 


Community engagement took place in late 2020 and continued through to late spring in 2021 to collect community input and create a finalized poverty reduction strategy within each community. The completed plans included common themes with local actions and recommendations made under each theme. Both plans were then adopted by their respective municipal councils in the late summer of 2021. 

Following the adoption of each plan, additional funds were awarded to each municipality to begin working on some of the selected actions within each plan.

With it's first round of action funding, the CommUNITY Together to End Poverty - Hw-nuts'-ulwum project delivered food on a weekly basis from the Ladysmith food bank to Stz'uminus Elders and families who have limited access to transportation, hosted two dinner, film and dialogue events, a food equity fair, two cultural workshops, a 12 week after school nutritious snack program and created a food recovery program. As of 2024, the work continues with a second round of action funds to build community capacity for taking actions through a series of four dinner and dialogues, four employer seminars and delivering food equity workshops.


In 2023, a single round of action funding was completed though the Movin' On Up Cowichan Lake Poverty Reduction project that included a series of twelve community workshops, two free store events, the development of a community support group page and training and skill development for community members with lived experience to manage a community garden and utilize the food grown for a weekly free community market and lunch program that has continued since.

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Living in poverty is much more than simply not having enough money to make ends meet. It affects where a person lives, what they eat, what they do and how they cope. It causes stress that impacts a person's emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Many cities and regions are developing Poverty Reduction Plans to help them understand the impacts of poverty at the local level and to identify actions that can be taken to reduce poverty. Some have taken it one step further to begin to explore Poverty Elimination rather than Poverty Reduction.

Calculating the living wage is part of understanding poverty in the context of community members' lived experiences. It isn't always as simple as "Get a job, support your family." Often, despite parents having full time jobs, low-income families must make significant sacrifices in other areas of their lives in order to provide regular food or shelter. How much of a family's income is allocated to the monthly cost of food? Shelter? Child Care? How much should be allocated? The living wage is designed to help understand and ultimately solve these problems. 

Social Planning Cowichan has calculated the Living Wage in the Cowichan region since 2014 (with the exception of 2020). Click here to learn more about the Living Wage calculations in the Cowichan Region

Poverty Projects

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