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Richmond receives funding to connect those in poverty with resources and support

Monthly drop-in sessions at Brighouse library aim to provide more flexible service.
Richmond Public Library
People in need can stop by Brighouse library to learn more about the resources available to them.

A provincial grant of $50,000 will help vulnerable groups such as newcomers, refugees, and lone-parent families access resources that could help improve their digital literacy and employment readiness. 

As a part of its strategy to reduce and prevent poverty, the City has been working with community organizations such as the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC). One of the main issues that community members raised was that they didn’t always know how to access these services, or even that they existed, said city spokesman Clay Adams. 

People have also noticed that there is little to no support available after hours and on weekends, except for the RPRC’s food delivery program. 

“Outreach actually has to be reaching out into the community, not, ‘You can come to my office on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30.’ That’s more in-reach,” said De Whalen, the president of the RPRC. 

The drop-in sessions will be held at Richmond Public Library at Brighouse, which is open after hours and on weekends as well. 

The funding is coming from the Union of B.C. Municipalities' (UBCM) Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program, which supports local efforts to reduce poverty, Adams explained. 

But the City still has a long way to go in preventing and reducing poverty, according to Whalen. 

“There’s still gaps in this, but we do understand it’s a long-term strategy, and it’s going to take time. You know how to eat an elephant, right? One bite at a time,” she said. 

Increasing access to resources and support will address one of the three short-term goals identified by the City’s action plan, the other two being food security and community wellness. However, there are deeper issues that need to be tackled to truly reduce poverty, such as housing. 

“It is the biggest concern. If you’ve looked on Kijiji or Craigslist to see what it costs to rent in Richmond, and you consider the minimum wage is $15 an hour and that income assistance is way, way less than that – How do people even survive?” said Whalen. 

“The amount of subsidized housing is way, way below what the needs are here,” she added. 

But in the meantime, the community resource drop-in sessions at Richmond Public Library will be a good first step. They are expected to begin in late fall this year.