Edmonton Social Planning Council Survey
The Edmonton Social Planning Council Survey was sent to candidates for both Mayor and City Council.
Here is my response.
Question: “Can you please identify what the City of Edmonton’s top priorities should be to reduce poverty in our community?”
Here are my top priorities for reducing poverty in Edmonton.
1. Affordable housing -- we need to address the need for the full range of affordable housing options from permanent supportive housing to limited equity home ownership. Housing provides stability that makes it possible for people to meet their other needs, secure and maintain employment and make ends meet. Right now appropriate, affordable housing is out of reach for far too many Edmontonians.
We need to be building affordable family oriented housing to address a variety of needs and demographics across all large-scale infill in Edmonton and in new greenfield developments as well. It is essential that these developments be close to transit and other amenities. This housing needs to be integrated across the City. This adds to the vibrancy and sustainability of a community and of the families that has make this home.
2. Affordable Childcare -- Although this is primarily a provincial jurisdiction issue, the City can take leadership on providing appropriate affordable spaces in new and existing buildings in order to bring stability to childcare providers and also bring costs down for families. Without affordable childcare, many/most parents (and usually women) are in a position where they are choosing between their careers and their children. In 2017, this should no longer be the norm, but it is. This also often puts stable employment and/or continuing education out of reach for many single parents.
3. Community building -- Poverty is not only shaped by a lack of money. The social determinants of heath demonstrate that a well-connected community of support and other resources can mitigate some of the worst impacts of poverty. One of the challenges that we face is that poverty in Edmonton often comes with extensive involvement with professionals and more difficulty maintaining stable natural communities of support. In fact our systems are often set up to discourage social cohesion. Programs like Abundant Communities, provide opportunities for people to connect around common interests in their communities despite (and because of?) the diverse life experiences and contexts people come from. Supporting the "natural supports" of individuals and families who are in poverty will go a long way to enhancing their ability to engage effectively and build a community. This should not replace much needed professional and financial support, but needs to be fostered intentionally.
4. Liveable income policy -- I would like to introduce a liveable income policy for City staff and contractors. This does not address the need for an overall income shift, but it does demonstrate that the City is serious about addressing income inequality.
5. Energy efficiency retrofitting for existing non-market housing stock and movement towards integrating higher requirements for new buildings.
Full responses at Edmonton Social Planning Survey Results