City of Revelstoke endorses national poverty reduction charter

Revelstoke council votes to endorse the National Poverty Reduction Charter developed by Vibrant Communities Canada.

After some hesitation, the City of Revelstoke has agreed to endorse a national poverty reduction agreement.

Council voted last week to sign on to the National Poverty Reduction Charter that was developed by Vibrant Communities Canada (VCC).

VCC is a national organization that works towards reducing poverty across Canada. The poverty reduction charter is a collaboration between various communities to help alleviate poverty across the country.

“We envision all Canadians collectively committing to action that will significantly reduce and ultimately eliminate poverty in our communities,” states the charter’s vision statement.

“We envision a Canada where everyone has access to adequate and affordable housing, income, nutrition, education, and opportunities to participate in community life.”

Revelstoke is already a member of Vibrant Communities Canada; the Columbia Basin Trust is currently covering the $1,000 annual membership fee.

Jill Zacharias, the city’s social development coordinator, told council she had been in touch with the organization since 2011 when work began on Revelstoke’s poverty reduction strategy.

“They’ve never hesitated to share resources or research and they’ve been actively engaged in our poverty reduction work,” she said.

She said endorsing the Cities Reducing Poverty Charter would send a signal that poverty reduction was a priority for the city.

“I think what the social development committee and poverty reduction group are looking for by asking the city to sign on to the charter is an acknowledgment that poverty reduction is important going forward for the community, for the Columbia Basin and for Canada as a whole,” she said. “Revelstoke is seen as leader for poverty reduction. We’ve already done so much, but really we’re just in the beginning.”

Council was first asked to sign on to the charter in February, however they held off in order to get more information on the potential financial impact of signing on.

A staff report said, “By endorsing the charter, there is a possibility that the city may raise expectations in the community that the city will address poverty reduction issues in the future, which may entail additional costs to the city.”

Still, council voted to endorse the charter at its March 10 meeting.

Zacharias applauded council’s vote. “It says that our local government is saying this is a high priority and it’s important to us,” she said.