Province wants Langley residents’ input on how to tackle poverty

The final few meetings are happening around B.C. with Langley’s on Tuesday.

Langley has one of the last few community meetings where people can offer opinions on how to reduce poverty in B.C.

Since the start of the year, Poverty Reduction Strategy community meetings have taken place around B.C.

Langley’s meeting is set for Tuesday, March 27 at the Langley Seniors Resource Centre, 20605 51B Ave.

A hot meal will be provided and people are able to attend and offer their ideas on how this province can tackle poverty.

B.C. has the highest rate of poverty in the country. Using the Market Basket Measure there are approximately 678,000 people in B.C. living below the poverty line – 118,000 are children. The Market Basket Measure for singles is approximately $20,000 a year, and for a family of four about $40,000 a year. The depth of poverty has increased over the past decade due to skyrocketing housing prices, and increased costs for utilities, child care and groceries.

According to the province, the current minimum wage of $11.35 per hour is about half of what’s considered a living wage (depending in which community a person lives in).

The input from the meetings will be factored into the provincial strategy that is scheduled for release in the autumn of 2018.

The doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the community meeting running 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The centre is accessible and people can get help with transportation, child care, disability and health supports, as well as secure storage for belongings.

Anyone who would like help to participate in the meeting can contact Jayd Ursulak, with the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC), at 604-718-7745 or JUrsulak@sparc.bc.ca.

There are also community meetings Monday in Maple Ridge, Wednesday in Abbotsford, and Thursday in Chilliwack. See the complete schedule.

Those unable to attend the meetings can still provide feedback. There is an online feedback option. The email address is BCPovertyReduction@gov.bc.ca. The deadline is March 31.

The toll-free number to call and leave a message with feedback is 1-778 698-7746. The fourth option is to call Enquiry BC and ask for BC Poverty Reduction at 1-800-663-7867.

The feedback from the online forms and emails will be posted online but without names.

The deadline is March 31, no matter which option people choose for feedback.

• B.C. Poverty Reduction website

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