Vibrant Communities Calgary has been a co-host of the Soul of the Next Economy Forum since 2014.
In 2013, Vibrant Communities Calgary put together a strategy to address the problem of poverty in Calgary. Together with United Way, Momentum, and the City of Calgary, huge strides have been made in their ultimate goal. However, as our society evolves the needs of our city change as well. In April 2019, VCC refreshed their strategy to create Enough For All 2.0, in order to continually and effectively impact the more than 120,000 Calgarians living in poverty. The new strategy’s aspirational goal is to reduce Calgary’s 2015 poverty level by 30 per cent by 2023. This can only be achieved by Calgarians joining together to create change in our city.
Typically when we think of poverty, we imagine a homeless person on the street. Although devastating, this image does not reflect the true severity of all those living in poverty. More than just lack of funds, poverty also comes in the form of the lack of basic human rights. Things such as adequate education, security, civil and political rights, and healthcare are all necessities to a basic standard of living that so many go without. Those most vulnerable include single mothers, indigenous people, immigrants, and people with disabilities. However, so many who are living below their means do not want to be associated with the stigma associated with the word ‘poverty’. The definition that the Enough for All strategy uses is: “the condition in which people are without the supports, means and choices needed to attain and maintain a basic standard of living.”
The Enough for All 2.0 strategy has defined three primary goals:
All Calgarians live in a strong, supportive, and inclusive community
All Calgarians have sufficient income and assets to thrive
And all Indigenous People are equal participants in Calgary’s future.
In order to achieve these goals, the strategy includes 10 levers of change that will become the areas of focus in the plan to reduce poverty. These levers include: adult literacy and foundational learning; early learning and care; employment; financial empowerment; food security; housing; income support; justice; physical and mental health; and transportation. The organization has put in an immense amount of research to develop this strategy and its evaluation methods in order to create real and impactful change.
The impact of Enough for All 2.0 is life-changing for so many in our city, but it is only possible with the collaboration of our entire community. The Enough for All 2.0 Strategy Document outlines a shared values agreement that organizations can commit to in order to work alongside VCC to integrate E4A 2.0 principles in their mission. Even as an individual, you can take part and make an impact. The Strategy Document also lays out a “Personal Pledge to Reduce Poverty” that one can commit to and decide on the specific ways they can take small steps to contribute to this huge mission. Find more information about the ways Vibrant Communities Calgary and their partners are positively impacting Calgary at https://enoughforall.ca/.