Poverty Reduction Forum in Kingston

Submitted by Kingston on June 6, 2013 - 5:20am
Plans for Action as a Community

Plans for Action as a Community

On June 3rd 2013 a Community Forum on Poverty Reduction was held at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour in Kingston, ON.  The Forum was held to present the 2013 Poverty Reduction Initiative Report: Plans for Action as a Community.  The report and forum marked a milestone in a journey that began more than 6 years ago, when the Mayors’ task Force on Poverty began focusing attention on poverty reduction in our community. 

Approximately 150 people turned out to hear the presentation of the report and to participate in interactive break-out sessions on key themes such as Food Security, Key Skills and Jobs for the Future, and Parent Engagement in Education.   Advertised widely, the event drew many people who had not previously been engaged in the poverty reduction initiative. 

Working with the lead organizations, United Way KFL&A, City of Kingston, and Kingston Community Health Centres, Moderator Rob Wood developed a dynamic and engaging presentation of key data and messages from the report.  Co-chairs of the 5 working groups presented highlights from their respective focus areas.

Keynote addresses by Senator Hugh Segal and student Cody Allan, a participant in Kingston’s Pathways to Education program, reflected the mix of both innovative local programs and high-level policy change that have been identified as being necessary for poverty reduction in our community.

For the past year, 5 working groups comprised of over 80 individuals have been meeting regularly to identify priorities for action. The working groups include representatives of agencies who work with clients in poverty, policy makers, and individuals and families who live with poverty every day.  The 2013 Report outlines key action items – some short term actions and some longer term sustainable solutions within the 5 identified strategic focus areas: 

  • Community Supports for Education
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Skills Development and Employment
  • Social Services and Community Supports

The 2013 report marks the beginning of the next phase of a very important journey in our community. We have enhanced community capacity, forged connections across sectors, and started some complex and passionate conversations. We have begun to develop tactics for moving forward with the identified actions.  We look forward to engaging some fresh voices from the community as we move forward on the road to poverty reduction for Kingston.

The report will be presented to Kingston City Council in June, 2013.

The full report can be found online at www.wecanreducepoverty.ca