Medicine Hat & Region - Strategy to End Poverty & Increase Wellbeing

Our Strategy

Leadership and Systems Change

  • Advance system reform through a comprehensive policy agenda
  • Embed the lived experience voice in implementation and THRIVE strategy implementation governance.
  • Engage Medicine Hat and area residents in a social movement to end poverty and increase wellbeing.
  • Declare and demonstrate our commitment to social inclusion, with a focus on authentic reconciliation that revitalizes relationships between indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
  • Launch a Council of Champions to drive THRIVE strategy implementation.
  • Create an independent backbone organization to support the Council of Champions and drive THRIVE strategy implementation.
  • Support the Council of Champions to raise the start-up funds for THRIVE strategy implementation infrastructure needs.

Community Systems Planning

  • Develop a real-time Service and Funding Map, including target groups, eligibility criteria, program types, outcomes, and outputs to understand where funding is currently being invested and to what end.
  • Engage key stakeholders in defining the Community System and its key principles and service delivery model across organizations to enhance coordination and impact.
  • Develop and implement a Community Information Management System to embed research and data in THRIVE Strategy implementation.
  • Align diverse funding streams to support Plan priorities leveraging a Funder’s Forum using a common Performance Framework to increase service quality and impact across the Community System.
  • Introduce measures to enhance coordinated access to services, including consistent assessment, triage and referral processes, information sharing strategies, Community Hubs and Community Fairs.
  • Support the Community System’s funding, capacity building and innovation needs with training, networking and mentoring opportunities.

Income Security

  • Work with financial institutions to develop innovative ways of making banking more accessible for low-income Medicine Hat residents and explore financial products that suit their needs more effectively.
  • Explore creation of a task force on financial literacy and asset-building to develop and support leaders, government, and non-profits.
  • Support citizens with obtaining financial and other benefits they are entitled to, enhance financial literacy (Project Connect, Community Hubs, and schools).
  • Enhance training and labour force attachment strategies to increase employability among Medicine Hat residents.
  • Develop a comprehensive income security policy agenda that improves the financial situation of vulnerable populations, including income and rent supports, access to Living Wage, Universal Basic Income, and diverse asset building measures.

Business Innovation

  • Support a Community Economic Development Strategy to create quality jobs, promote social return to economic development, social enterprise and inclusive business practices.
  • Engage business community partners in strategic discussions but more so action to tackle common issues for common benefit, including social impact finance and social entrepreneurship.
  • Develop information sharing of innovative social impact strategies and tools that can be scaled up in partnerships with the private sector.
  • Explore the creation of a Social Innovation Fund to support social enterprise incubation and acceleration in alignment with THRIVE Strategy priorities via the Funders’ Forum.
  • Recognize and promote innovation in the private, public and non-profit sectors that advances the THRIVE Strategy.

Energy Poverty

  • Work with private sector and government partners to find innovative ways of reducing energy pricing and improving the energy efficiency of homes. (e.g. HAT Smart)
  • Develop partnerships with energy providers to negotiate better rates and terms for low income Medicine Hat residents and reduce utility cut-offs.
  • Enhance basic weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades to low-income homeowners and tenants in social housing.
  • Explore clean energy ventures to increase affordability and sustainability – for instance, solar power technology can reduce power costs, create jobs, and improve environmental outcomes.

Affordable Housing

  • Lend our voice for the call for a National Housing Strategy and renewed government investment in new affordable housing and operations, repairs and upgrades of existing stock.
  • Explore innovative incentive programs for private landlords to improve affordable housing options, energy efficiency, quality, and accessibility.
  • Support the work of the Landlord Roundtable to provide information to/receive input from community landlords and to creatively problem-solve.
  • Continue supporting City Council’s contributions to land or surplus sites for affordable housing development, and encourage similar partnerships with other levels of government, non-profits and private sector stakeholders.
  • Develop a longer-term Affordable Housing Real Estate Strategy to enhance options for lower income households.
  • Explore how our current affordable housing programs can best integrate within the Community System.

Homelessness

  • Continue to support the priorities of At Home in Medicine Hat: Our Plan to End Homelessness using a Housing First systems planning approach.
  • Confirm the achievement of Functional Zero end to homelessness in partnership with national partners.
  • Move upstream into homelessness prevention through enhanced investments in diversion and/or targeted eviction prevention and discharge planning with public systems to enhance housing security.
  • Begin delivering Permanent Supportive Housing (place-based) to Medicine Hat residents in need of long term supportive housing options.
  • Re-examine priorities in homelessness initiatives and develop alignment moving forward as an integrated Community System.

Food Security

  • Advance and expand food security initiatives across schools, including the FoodFirst pilot for vulnerable families operated by the Medicine Hat & District Food Bank Association.
  • Support the creation of Community Food Centres to increase healthy food access, skills, education and engagement.
  • Enhance innovative food redistribution strategies, leveraging existing initiatives to reduce food waste across retailers and producers.
  • Explore innovative community sustainable farming models targeting lower income households as food producers and consumers.
  • Support innovative social enterprise models that help retailers sell healthier food at affordable prices.
  • Encourage urban agriculture on underutilized non-profit, private sector, and government land and facilities.
  • Enhance food and nutrition knowledge with accessible information using diverse strategies.

Transportation

  • Continue to support the City of Medicine Hat in implementing Low-Income Transit Passes for qualifying individuals that is fare-geared-to income.
  • Expand options for shared-ride, and curb-to-curb transportation services.
  • Solicit provincial and federal investment to subsidize transit service for low-income Medicine Hat residents.
  • Advocate for enhanced infrastructure supports from provincial and federal levels of government to improve transit infrastructure and coverage.
  • Explore alternative methods of transit, such as car-shares, car pools, rent-a-bike, etc. modeled after innovative practices in the private sector (such as Uber) that are social enterprises.

Health and Wellness

  • Support partners in health, recreation, education, human services, and employers to enhance physical and mental health, including addictions.
  • Explore the development of peer-based models to strengthen natural supports and access to health and wellness prevention and early intervention services.
  • Explore innovative options of facilitating access to addiction and mental health supports, including mobile health outreach services.
  • Enhance school-based physical and mental health and wellness programs.
  • Advance government asks for increased infrastructure investment to upgrade community recreation facilities and create new ones in underserved areas.
  • Optimize the use of existing structures and spaces for multiple purposes, including health and wellness (e.g. use of schools, recreation centres, churches, vacant land and lots).
  • Encourage all recreation providers to introduce reduced user fees for low-income residents and leverage recreation centres as access points for engagement and early intervention.

Literacy and Learning

  • Provide parents with access to leading edge early years’ information and practical tools.
  • Enhance accessibility of enriched Early Childhood Education programs.
  • Advance increased investment for accessible and affordable, quality child care.
  • Increase programming supports for affordable, quality after-school programs.
  • Remove school attendance barriers, especially when these are financial such as bus passes, eyeglasses, school fees, etc.
  • Leverage schools and educators as key partners and strategically integrate their work in the Community System.
  • Explore increasing mentorship supports for children and youth in schools, focusing on tutoring, literacy, career planning and life skills development.
  • Enhance peer mentorship options for adults – particularly emerging social entrepreneurs with lived experience in poverty.
  • Engage the Medicine Hat College and other adult education providers in developing strategies to enhance access to learning and literacy opportunities for Medicine Hat residents who are experiencing poverty.

Resilient Families

  • Advocate for enhanced support for healthy pregnancies, optimized maternal mental health, early screening and follow up to support child development.
  • Streamline access to supports for families experiencing periods of vulnerability to support healthy, safe, nurturing experiences for their children and protect children who are not safe.
  • Support family reconnection whenever safe and appropriate, through targeted supports.
  • Ensure those experiencing violence have access to the immediate supports they need to be safe, including housing, shelter, income, police intervention, legal and counseling services.
  • Work with men and boys to change attitudes and behaviors about masculinity, as well as women and girls to advance a gender equity agenda.
  • Apply a gender lens to the Policy Agenda, on issues including pay equity, supports for working parents such as full-day kindergarten, and making quality preschool, afterschool and recreation services affordable for all families.

Community Safety

  • Work with law enforcement to promote a balanced approach to community safety and crime reduction based on prevention, intervention and enforcement.
  • For those who perpetuate violence, advance effective interventions to mitigate dangers posed to victims, address offences, and change behaviors long term.
  • Work with local legal community to find ways to expand access to affordable legal supports for those experiencing poverty.
  • Help decriminalize poverty whenever possible through advocacy and public education.
  • Explore diversion of those charged with minor poverty-related offences, to community-based supports rather than incarceration.
  • Explore enhancing the availability of restorative justice programs.
Investments

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