September Meeting Summary
With changing seasons comes changing work. The act of letting go of something can leave room for something new to emerge. At the top of the meeting, the CFP facilitation team let the group know they will not be applying for funding to continue facilitation. Current funding for CFP goes until November 1st, 2021. The September meeting focused on the CFP’s transition as will the October meeting.
At the wake of the pandemic, Kamloops Food Policy Council received funding to facilitate the CFP. At this time, food security and coordination of emergency food provisions was a top priority. Poverty is a complex issue that requires multi sectoral efforts to address, which includes but is not limited to food security. As a food focuses organization, the KFPC will continue to support poverty reduction efforts in relation to community food security and equitable access to healthy, local and culturally safe foods.
Questions emerged around what kind of group is needed? Is information sharing the best use of the group? Should the group be solely action oriented? Are other committees in Kamloops doing similar work? Is there a backbone organization with capacity and interest in taking on the group? Does CFP need to be reimagined and reformed into something new?
To deepen our understanding of work happening in Kamloops, we heard from Ty Helgason on the ecosystem of city committees in relation to social and community development. Although other groups exist throughout the city, this is a general overview of groups with a social purpose in connection with the city.
City Led Groups:
- Reaching Home Community Advisory Board
- COVID Response for Vulnerable Populations
- Coordinated Outreach Response
Council Committees and Subcommittees:
- Safe and Secure
- Social Services
- Enforcement Education
- Neighbourhood Associations and Business Improvement
- Community Services Council
- Early Childhood
- Agriculture Engagement
- Accessibility and Inclusion
- Social Planning Engagement
- Community Mobilization
- Healthy Kamloops Collective
External Groups and Subcommittees (not city led):
- Community Action Team
- Indigenous Team of Champions for Wellness
- Addiction Matters Kamloops
- Kamloops Mom Stop the Harm
- BC Housing Coordinated Access and Assessment
Over the past year and a half, the CFP has learned a lot and engaged with many groups. To share our learnings, thank our supporters and make recommendations on next steps to addressing poverty the CFP facilitation team will be doing a delegation to the Community Services Council on October 28th. Emily shared the draft delegation presentation to receive feedback from CFP members. Presentation tips and input on recommendations were made by the group.
Next, we engaged in a “Mad Tea” activity to hear from the group on potential next steps for the CFP and accomplishments of the CFP since its inception in 2006. Below are responses shared by meeting attendees.
To what extent do you feel there have been changes to what people in poverty are experiencing since this committee started?
“I can see how it has increased collaboration and communication with agencies etc”
“I do know that [CFP] has helped me pass on pertinent information to the students…and has helped me help clients navigate issues tied to poverty.”
“There is more housing, more food programs and potentially more awareness. Yes, there continues to be the same challenges at play for those living in poverty and potentially, more people experiencing poverty”
“Better coordination of services, improved dissemination of information regarding services”
“Cost of everything has drastically gone up- HUGE housing crisis, childcare crisis, cost of food.”
“the cost of housing has escalated, neighborhoods have gentrified, people have been displaced from rural areas, the visible signs of utter poverty have increased, many others have become more hostile to poverty.”
“rising housing costs, increased social isolation, mental health”
“barely any raise in welfare rates in bc, increased settlement/population and housing crunch on secwepemcul'ecw, more cost based analysis contingent funding for social programs, sell off then buy up of bc housing”
“Increased issues with misinformation about how people in poverty are ending up in Kamloops or on the street.”
“The gap between those who have and those who have not has been widening, the cost of living in Kamloops has gone up significantly, access to essential services like childcare and health care has been declining”
How has CFP contributed to any changes to the experiences of those in poverty?
“Holding a space for those in poverty to share their experiences, VIDEO, collaborative approach, sharing of information and resources”
“A venue or space for shared resources and information among services providers is so valuable in ensuring needs by those experiencing poverty and looking to access resources are met.”
“Looking at other communities responses, thinking outside the box for new ideas”
“Coordination of efforts, helping organizations be aware of “what else” is going on in the city, what other helps are available or applicable, building a sense of collaboration, identifying gaps/outstanding needs - hopefully this has resulted in better access?”
“The ability to share information, and to brainstorm reactions to government policies such as disability rates. The improved communication especially with local government. Building of relationships between NGOs, faith based groups and others.”
“I'm not sure.”
“acted as a non-government or law enforcement led voice for equality and services for community members; provided a space for like-minded community members and service workers to share and engage in broader advocacy, helped connect projects and share strengths to avoid duplicating or remaking existing resources.”
“I believe CFP helps by bringing people together to build relationships to support those experiencing poverty and conditions that are a result of poverty.”
“I think CFP has brought more awareness to the issue and had on-the-ground success in initiating responses to alleviate some of the impacts of poverty (i.e. rent bank, food access, advocacy around laws/policies impacting those living in poverty)”
Is there a role for a group like CFP in addressing the current conflict around ‘polarization’ and stigma around poverty and crime? Please describe.
“I sure hope so. I sense the growing “big feelings” you mentioned and can understand the fear and frustration, but see such a need for education and opening up places to help and to treat all those involved with dignity and decency.”
“I think any group that brings community organizations together helps to reduce stigma. I also think groups, such as CFP, help to support service providers so they can each continue to serve the community in their own individual capacity. I am unsure of the role CFP has in addressing this polarization, as I'm sure many of us are.”
“One role the CFP could be to redefine what a citizen of Kamloops is. If only affluent people are seen as belonging, then the poor are buitenlanders (outsiders) who will never be seen as having a place. CFP can help bring these people into the conversation - e.g. advocate for people at Emerald House or Spero to be part of the Seniors Lite Tour”
“CFP can show commonality between community members experienced high costs of housing, lack of access to health and other services, lack of inclusive and accessible public services - regardless of whether we are housed and "decent" or what our substance use of choice may or may not be. For example: what are our shared experiences and stories of finding housing, going to the park, finding a primary care provider, etc? I would prefer if CFP didn't automatically include the city and government, but could invite them.”
“More education to community members, more workshops, shared spaces, initiatives that bring the community together. Space to educate on the many root causes of homelessness. Becoming a group that is easily reachable to answer any questions individuals may have.”
“I agree there is a lot pf "potency" in the community around crime and poverty right now. I believe there has been a significant increase recently and this is lending itself to community frustrations. The world in general is under a significant amount of stress and I think many people are facing severe stress in relation to covid - this adds to the polarization - and stigma for sure. Tough issue. Not sure I really answered the question....”
“With the current membership and folks who attend the meetings I would suggest no. It seems to me that in order to hold space for those larger systemic conversations we need to increase the mandate of the group and invite stakeholders from multiple sectors not just NGOs and municipal reps”
What do you hope to see for CFP moving forward?
“More info/resource sharing which can lead to collaboration and then broadening out participants from a wider cross-section of groups, organizations, areas.”
“I would like that there is a monthly open meeting open to NGOs, faith-based groups and individuals that provides a safe space to share ideas and support initiatives. It would be good if it had some money to do a few small projects. Finally, ask how many people even know CFP exists - is it a group that should be known by the larger community. Also, is there work to ask others to join it.”
“I think CFP is at a crossroads and need to clearly define mandate and purpose. Is this a table for sharing updates or is this an action table looking at creating impact and change? If the latter than more resources will need to come from somewhere...”
“Perhaps a more focused direction. Clear overarching goals. Perhaps sub-committees within to tackle different content areas”
“a priority of hosting accessible events to hear the ideas of people living in poverty on a regular basis- and least quarterly.”
“I agree, there is a need for a committee/group outside of other structures that will allow for latitude with innovation, realness, etc. I’m not sure where this fits? There is a Local Health Action Committee (Venture Kamloops is Chairing I believe). Maybe there is a possibility there?”
“the role of a non-City group is key for bringing forward ideas and building relationships. As an equivalent, the Chamber of Commerce advocates for businesses, even though there are City committees and groups that have responsibilities for these as well.”
The group then had an open discussion and reflected on where the CFP has been, its past accomplishments and what people feel is needed in community. This includes more advocacy, a space to engage with folks with lived experience, a poverty reduction strategy, increased access to services, dedicated capacity for collaboration, accessibility audits, explainers committees and more. Whether a group is funding by the city or external was discussed, including the freedoms of a group external to the city and the risks of not having municipal support.
The CFP facilitation team welcomes community members and organizations to connect with us if they have questions, thoughts, concerns or interest regarding CFP facilitation. Feel free to connect with Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org .We would love to hear from you!
Service Provider Updates
- City of Kamloops received funding from the finance committee for additional 2021 Social and Community Development Grants, applications are now open! Application deadline is October 6th at 8:00am. Please note these are for projects beginning in 2021. Separate applications will open in November for the 2022 Social and Community Development Grants. https://www.kamloops.ca/node/39841
- Raise a Reader Day September 22, 2021 - www.raiseareader.ca
- Connect with Sally at United Way BC (250-372-9933) to learn more about their Collaboration Centre in Kamloops and how your organization can use the space.