June 24, 2020 CFP Meeting Summary
"Reflecting on the Impacts of These Changing Times"
For some months now, we have gathered online to attend meetings and continue in our work. We have all begun to adapt and now we begin to see the impacts these changes have on our greater community. The City of Kamloops has recognized the need for collaboration and action; we would like to acknowledge their assistance in supporting the facilitation of the Changing the Face of Poverty (CFP) network to focus on effective collaboration.
During our monthly meeting in June, members were asked to reflect on who is missing in the group or who may be a champion that should be invited to join the committee. We ask for all members to extend an invitation to colleagues and other community members whose voice and presence should be included. With today’s online world, there is a greater opportunity to broaden the conversation. We are all one click away from connecting to one another and showing up to discuss critical issues in our community.
At our June meeting, local law advocates from the Elizabeth Fry Legal Clinic and the TRU Community Legal Team provided critical updates on new policies and legislative changes that impact members of our community. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth unique challenges specifically related to workplace safety, temporary lay offs, implications for receiving CERB when unqualified and court appearances. Kelly Melnyk presented on Employment Law During COVID-19, please view her presentation for full details.
To learn more about court changes and appearances please visit https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/.
Connecting with organizations and community members seeking change during these times is exciting, but it also shows us how much work needs to be done and that we need to do it together. CFP has been a place where organizations can network and stay updated on the work happening in our community. In June, the meeting attendees were asked, what would make CFP feel like not just another committee? Action. The greatest response was related to action, direction, outcome and change. It’s a powerful feeling when people who want to create change come together to be part of building a more resilient community.
These days look different than we likely imagined on the first eve of 2020. The impacts of COVID-19 are felt deeply across the community, and these times are often full of uncertainty. Social issues in our community are spreading and impacting more and more community members each day. At the June CFP meeting we discussed just that: what is happening for people in poverty right now? Uncertainty, fear, despair. We are seeing deep impacts from social isolation, decreased service delivery and increased job insecurity. We are losing community members and seeing our most vulnerable including children fall through the cracks.
We see what is happening. Now what?
Attendees of the meeting were then asked, So what? Now what? An array of issues felt in the community were identified along with some approaches to addressing these issues. You can read the rich notes created by our discussion groups here (and use the comment feature to add additional thoughts if you’d like). Several issues were identified to be collaboratively addressed in future CFP meetings:
Identification of service gaps and how to address gaps
Legal representation and wrap around services for marginalized groups and families
Mental health supports
At our July meeting, we’ll discuss these areas we identified in more depth. In preparation for that meeting, please think about which discussion you’d like to join and who else you’d like to see as part of the conversation.