Sunday, November 06, 2011

Meeting to Discuss Poverty-Reduction
(as published in the Daily Gleaner, November 5, 2011)

A public meeting will be held at Willie O'Ree Place in Scotiabank Park North on Monday at 9 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. to talk about strategies and solutions to improve the plight of chronic poverty in the capital city.

Fredericton Coun. Mike O'Brien will be the convenor of the sessions.

Susanne White is the community inclusion network co-ordinator with Greater Fredericton Social Innovation, which is a non-profit social-planning organization. She said the meetings in Fredericton will be one of two public discussions slated in the area in November.

In 2009, the provincial government gathered input from 2,500 New Brunswickers on poverty and possible fixes.

"That developed into a strategy and, to implement the strategy, the province developed the Economic and Social Inclusion Corp. And in order to drive it back down to the community level, the province set up 12 regions in the province," White said.

Fredericton's region stretches roughly around the capital area to take in Chipman, Oromocto, Fredericton Junction and Gagetown.

"The purpose of the sessions is to engage citizens who represent different sectors in the community, from business to non-profits to service groups and faith organizations and government. People with lived experience who bring that voice of reality are welcome," she said.

"The purpose of the meetings is to share strategies, solutions and perceptions about what the issues are, with the intent of starting the ball rolling on what can be done to effect change in the local community to impact people dealing with poverty on a day-to-day basis."

White said people coping with tough financial situations tend to disconnect from the community, and a lot of the solutions are about finding ways to give people a hand up, rather than just a handout.

"Helping people find that pathway for themselves out of poverty," White said.

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