Kingston's 2014 Poverty Reduction Initiative Report Released

Submitted by Kingston on October 3, 2014 - 5:16am

Kingston’s collaborative to address poverty has been making great strides forward.

In the September of 2014, a comprehensive report on the accomplishments of the working groups was published and presented to the community.

Here are the highlights of selected initiatives and progress the Initiative has taken over the year.

Community Supports for Education:

·         The Children & Youth Services Planning Committee held sessions to develop common language, standards and tool kits to support parent engagement. 

·         Work is underway to map a directory of educational supports and diagnostic services for parents and students.

·         Working with Pathways to Education and other partners, the United Way plans to develop a new project to ensure more youth successfully complete high school and transition to further education, work and adult life.

 

Health:

·         A Poverty Impact Assessment Tool was developed to assist organizations with policy review from a poverty reduction perspective.

·         Vulnerable populations were surveyed as part of the 2013 Canadian Index of Well-being Survey, and local results and recommendations are being shared.

·         Progress was made in helping vulnerable persons to find and obtain health care at the right time and the right place to meet their needs. This included the launch of the online resource hub www.KingstonHelps.ca and work with 211.

·         The KFL&A Service Collaborative has developed a new protocol to provide a clear transition pathway from child & youth services into adult services for youth with mental health and/or addictions issues who require specialized complex care.

 

Skills Development and Employment:

·         A pilot project was developed to provide complementary Kingston Transit passes to newly employed residents and support their transition into the workforce.

·         Steps were taken to promote information sharing, mapping resources and employment supports.

·         A video produced by Frontenac Community Mental Health & Addictions Services is being shared with employers to promote the benefits of hiring diversity.

 

Social Services and Community Supports:

·         The “My Kingston” Municipal Fee Assistance Program (MFAP) card is being enhanced with additional goods and services for eligible low income households.

·         A compact listing and map of “essential” social services has been developed for download, printing and use by agencies and residents.

·         The new Food Policy Council has started an assessment of the area food system.

·         A networking forum for dozens of service providers helped to “Connect the Dots” for alignment, focus, connection and collaboration. A community development conference in Fall 2014 will focus on building bridges out of poverty.

 

Housing:

·         Important milestones this past year included the development and initial implementation of the 10-Year Municipal Housing and Homelessness Plan.

·         Extensive community engagement was undertaken in support of the Rideau Heights Regeneration Strategy, as well as mapping neighbourhood organizations.

·         The “Hope for Homes” (H4H) Network of homelessness service providers meets regularly to strengthen collective service delivery and accessibility to service.

·         A pilot project championed by the United Way led to the launch of Youth Out Loud: Taking Action to End Youth Homelessness in Kingston and Area and building capacity, assets and resiliency factors to help shelter homeless youth.

 

Looking Ahead: Focus on Child Poverty and Employment Plans

 

Much has been achieved on many fronts by the community and the many volunteers engaged in the Poverty Reduction Initiative. Major strides forward have also been achieved in a couple of areas of particular focus — housing is one good example. Looking ahead to the next stage of effort, strategic focus will be placed on two particular priorities in Kingston: Child Poverty, and Employment & Skills Development. Our goals are ambitious, but we will accomplish them, going farther with clear focus and together as a community. For poverty is everybody’s business.