FILE — Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer (CBT picture)

FILE — Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer (CBT picture)

Columbia Basin Trust announces funding for poverty reduction

The CBT announced $500,000 for up to four community-based poverty reduction projects.

The Columbia Basin Trust has announced $500,000 for up to four community-based poverty reduction projects.

The CBT announced a request for proposals (RFP) on Friday and funding for “up to four innovative projects that take action to reduce poverty in Basin communities, including rural areas. Successful proponents will develop and implement their proposed projects and keep track of lessons learned so they can be shared.”

“Projects should measurably reduce poverty for target populations during project implementation,” reads the RFP.

“The Trust is issuing this request for proposals because we’ve been asked by Basin residents and communities to make supporting poverty reduction one of our objectives or a priority activity and that’s why it’s embedded in the Social Strategic Plan that guides all of our social initiatives right now,” says Tim Hicks, senior manager, delivery of benefits for the CBT.

Deb McIntosh, director of the Castlegar Community Harvest Food Bank was enthusiastic about the announcement.

“I think it’s a fabulous thing and I hope that Castlegar organizations can get together and can come up with some kind of a plan to utilize some money to do the biggest bang for the buck. There are lots of things that can be done, but it’s going to take a brainstorming session to come up with what that looks like,” she said. “Because there’s no sense in going out there competing against one another.”

The biggest issue that McIntosh thinks needs to be addressed in Castlegar is making sure everyone can afford housing.

“The biggest issue that we see at the food bank all the time is people being able to afford rent,” she says. “Single people who get a modest amount on their cheques.”

Utilities and food security are also big issues for people with limited incomes.

Anyone interested in submitting a proposal should visit bcbid.gov.bc.ca to read the full RFP.

CBT will also be holding an information meeting via teleconference on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. See the full RFP for details.

The deadline for proposals is Friday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. PST.

Work is also underway by the Columbia Basin Poverty Reduction Working Group.

“This group brings together Basin communities focused on poverty reduction and encourages collaboration by sharing knowledge and experience, enabling these community leaders to be better positioned to have a tangible impact,” explained the CBT’s media release.

The Columbia Basin Poverty Reduction Working Group recently held a webinar for Vibrant Communities Canada, which highlighted their approach to poverty reduction in rural and remote communities, so other regions across the country could learn from their approach.

The webinar can be viewed at vibrantcanada.ca/blogs/natasha-pei/recording-online-measuring-poverty-reduction-rural-bc.