Ladysmith is beginning a public engagement project to help it create a Poverty Reduction Plan.

The first step will be to learn what causes poverty in Ladysmith and how it affects individuals, families, and neighbourhoods

By doing this, Ladysmith hopes to identify strategies for tackling the root causes.

Provincial funding was received by the town in June of last year to develop its strategy and Ladysmith is working in collaboration with Social Planning Cowichan and other community agencies.

The town wants to hear from Ladysmith and Stz’uminus community members.

Mayor Aaron Stone says they need a better understanding of the unique issues in Ladysmith in order to create lasting change.

According to Stone, “the face of poverty is changing and we have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic how families, seniors, neighbours and youth venturing out into the workforce are all struggling in different ways.”

In a news release, the Town of Ladysmith says: “hearing directly from those who have experienced poverty is critical to the project’s success. A diverse group of six peers with lived experience will be hired to conduct interviews and capture stories and recommendations for improving conditions for vulnerable populations.”

People in the community will have a chance to take part in one of three Poverty Challenges during the week of March 29 – April 9, 2021.

The challenges are:

  • Can you live on a three-day food allowance that is based on social assistance?
  • Can you live on a three-day food allowance that is based on social assistance? What would it be like to only have access to public or active transportation for three days?
  • What would you do with 12 hours out in the community and nowhere to go?

Ladysmith and Stz’uminus community members can sign up now through the project website for one of the three Poverty Challenges.

Ladysmith hopes to encourage everyone to share their stories and find the solutions.