A Visionary City Council Strives to
End Poverty

In 2013, a Council Initiative for the Elimination of Poverty that included Councillors Ben Henderson and Scott McKeen was convened by the City of Edmonton. With the election of Mayor Don Iveson that year, the Council Initiative was elevated to a Mayor’s Task Force.

Through the next couple of years, that Task Force convened multiple Working Groups in the areas of Community Well Being, Early Childhood Development, Economic Security, Education, Health and Wellness, Housing and Transportation, Justice and Democratic Participation, and included an Aboriginal Round Table and an Information and Research Round Table. The Task Force sought to ground its work in evidence and traditional Indigenous ways of knowing in order to address the issues of poverty in a new way.

The Working Groups and Round Tables spent months talking to the people of Edmonton about their experiences of poverty and their hopes for a way to end it.

Defining a Strategy

In 2015, the Task Force presented End Poverty in a Generation: A Strategy to City Council on December 15. It was met with unanimous approval.

The Strategy outline 28 Priorities identified by the over 3000 Edmontonians involved in its creation. These Priorities were organized under 5 Goals.

The document also introduced Edmontonians to the idea of Game Changers, larger actions, made up of smaller ones spread across the community, that will have the net result of essential and radical change for those experience poverty. The six EPE Game Changers are:

#1 ELIMINATE RACISM

#2 LIVABLE INCOMES

#3 AFFORDABLE HOUSING

#4 ACCESSIBLE & AFFORDABLE TRANSIT

#5 AFFORDABLE & QUALITY CHILD CARE

#6 ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Drawing the Road Map to End Poverty

With these Priorities, Goals and Game Changers in mind, the Task Force worked on the first implementation plan, distilling 35 actions that could be taken in the first five years from over 400 actions suggested by the community.

These 35 actions formed A Road Map to Guide Our Journey 2017-2021, which was presented to and approved by City Council in 2016.

Getting to Work on the Road Map

One of the cornerstones of the Road Map implementation was the creation of the EndPovertyEdmonton Secretariat, a support organization that would move the initiative from the City of Edmonton out into the community, so that a movement could begin to grow.

Through visionary contributions from the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Community Foundation, and in partnership with the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, The Secretariat was initiated in mid-2017.

Since that time, the Secretariat organization has hired staff, convened tables and begun the foundational work of both setting up the structure for the community to work within, and for the initiative to operate.

Structuring the Initiative

EndPovertyEdmonton is comprised of multiple configurations of people from the community who represent agencies, orders of government, citizens with lived experience, service providers and many others with an interest in ending poverty.

Who Do We Mean When We Say EPE?

Like all initiatives seeking to make change across a community, EndPovertyEdmonton takes on a life of its own in the community. This larger social change is driven by the EndPovertyEdmonton Tables and the Road Map actions, with support provided by the Secretariat.

 
 

The Stewardship Round Table is the leadership table for the community, providing oversight to the Road Map and reporting progress back to the community at large. It is comprised of representatives from the Investment Collective, the Indigenous Circle, service providers and key partners.

The Investment Collective is comprised of key Road Map funding partners, including the City of Edmonton, Government of Alberta, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, Edmonton Community Foundation, Stollery Foundation and the Government of Canada.

 
 

The Indigenous Circle is a fluid and open membership table inclusive of all Indigenous peoples and communities. It includes Elders, knowledge keepers and cultural resource people and encourages the participation of those who have seen poverty and Indigenous youth.

The Stakeholder Forum is Lived Experience Leaders—people with the lived/living experience of poverty, who have chosen to contribute to EPE in order to advocate and share knowledge. It includes representatives from communities representing newcomers, low-income workers, at-risk and/or queer youth, vulnerable women, individuals who are homeless, seniors, those with disabilities and Indigenous Edmontonians.

The Count Me In Network is composed of community members and partners from cross-sectoral groups working at ending poverty within the Game Changer realms. This includes content experts, academic peers, industry members, orders of government, sector agencies, business members, and non-profits.

 

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The EndPovertyEdmonton Strategy

The EndPovertyEdmonton Strategy aims to end poverty in Edmonton, not to merely manage it or help people cope with it. The Strategy builds a strong case for ending poverty on three fronts: the economic argument, the human rights case and the public opinion approach.

Between September 2014 and March 2015, 200 Edmontonians from diverse sectors and backgrounds were engaged in seven Working Groups to analyze issues on poverty and develop recommendations for action in their areas of focus.

The Endpovertyedmonton road map

After the EndPovertyEdmonton Strategy was unanimously approved by Edmonton City Council in December 2015, an Implementation Road Map was developed that provides specific direction for action over the next five years, starting in 2017.

Influenced by the ideas and input of thousands of Edmontonians, including Indigenous Peoples and people with lived experience of poverty, this Road Map has been developed by Edmontonians for Edmonton.