Poverty forum slated for Friday in Surrey

Surrey Coun. Judy Villeneuve -
Surrey Coun. Judy Villeneuve
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About one in six people in Surrey lives in poverty, according to 2006 figures, and Vibrant Surrey Poverty Reduction Society used the numbers this week to outline the stark picture facing the city.

Approximately 21 per cent of Metro Vancouver's residents are considered poor, and Vibrant Surrey warns those people are not all in downtown Vancouver.

About 16 per cent live in Surrey, which translates into 70,500 people living in scarcity.

To address the problem, Vibrant Surrey is working with the city and Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. (SPARC BC) to host a forum on poverty in Surrey on Friday, March 30 at the Bollywood Banquet Hall, #201-8166 128 St. It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

More than 70 stakeholders involved in local poverty reduction are expected to attend, including politicians, service providers, non-profits and government agencies. They will learn about the face of poverty in Surrey that has emerged from an eight-month long Collaborative Poverty Research Project.

Surrey Coun. Judy Villeneuve has long fought for issues regarding homelessness and poverty. She hopes the forum will help fill some of the service gaps regarding poverty here.

Housing, transportation, income and government tax cuts will be part of the focus of Friday's forum.

"What we want to do as a city is be as proactive as we can, but be ready with a good plan in place," Villeneuve said.

Part of the program will recommend providing better resources for families, because many of those in poverty are youth – sons and daughters of parents in poverty.

"What you see often, it's a long-term cycle," Villeneuve said. Locally we can show that federal tax credits for seniors are lifting them above the poverty level, breaking the cycle for future generations."

The public is invited to participate as there are still spaces available. Register online at by following the link to the Poverty Dialogue, or by sending an email to



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