Delburne council learns about the cost of poverty

Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance (CAPRA) is looking to partner with Delburne to host a poverty reduction workshop in the next few months.

Dianna Souveny and LeeAnne Shinski from CAPRA made a presentation to Delburne Village council at their Oct. 13 meeting.

The cost of managing poverty in Alberta falls between $7.1 and $9.5 billion per year primarily in health care, crime and lost opportunity.

CAPRA focuses on key elements to reduce poverty by advocating for and educating about living wage, affordable transportation, financial literacy, employment services, literacy and food security. In Red Deer, a living wage for a lone parent and one child would be $14.75 per hour full time, according to Souveny.

Over 100 members from business, government and community groups form CAPRA with the end goal of reducing rather than managing poverty.

Souveny gave an example of poverty management as providing food banks whereas providing food cards for use in grocery stores would be poverty reduction. The cards mean no overhead to operate the food bank, more emphasis on the cardholder making food decisions, and more dignity for the cardholder.

Educational opportunities
Red Deer College (RDC) is looking for support in its bid to become a polytechnic university from its existing status of comprehensive community institution.

Council voted to send a letter supporting the college’s initiative, which will be included in RDC’s request to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Technology.

The change in status will allow RDC to grant its own degrees and expand its programs.
According to RDC President and CEO Joel Ward, the college has been considering and planning for the change for several years.

For university transfer students, RDC generally offers the first two years, meaning students must leave for other schools. The costs become substantially higher for students and many do not return to the region after completing their education.

With degree granting status and the expansion of programs, Ward estimates the student population will rise to 10,000 from the current 7,000. As well, additional staffing will be required, all of which lends to economic growth for the area.

Following the formal request and presentation of RDC’s business plan to the government, and if the minister approves the request, a qualification process takes place and then programming will be put into place.

“We’re optimistic and hopeful,” stated Ward.

Support for forces
Delburne Village will again show its support for the Royal Canadian Legion by purchasing a quarter page ad in this year’s edition of the Military Service Recognition Book.

This is the seventh year for the book for Alberta-NWT Command, which recognizes local members of the military.

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