New child poverty report card for BC published

by JenniferY on November 24, 2016 Comments Off on New child poverty report card for BC published

National child care FirstCall, BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, has released their annual 2016 BC Child Poverty Report Card today. The report, funded by United Way of the Lower Mainland, shows that BC’s child poverty rate has decreased slightly from 20.4% in 2013 to 19.8% in 2014. The small decline is reflected in the poverty rate for children in couple families. However, there was no decrease in the shocking 50.3% poverty rate for children living in lone-parent families, the majority of which are single mother families. Nearly half (49.4%) of BC’s poor children live in lone-parent families. BC’s child poverty rate is higher than the Canadian average of 18.5% and remains at 1 in 5 children living in poverty in BC. Across the province, 163,260 children live in poverty. Over half of BC’s poor children lived in Metro Vancouver – 82,960 children “During their critical growing years, thousands of BC children and youth continue to be subjected to the stresses and deprivations of poverty because this province has refused to develop a comprehensive poverty reduction plan,” said Adrienne Montani, provincial coordinator of First Call. “Poverty affects children’s development and robs them of their potential,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “It’s imperative for the future of our province that we tackle this issue now. When we invest in our children, we invest in our future.” The 2016 BC Child Poverty Report Card calls not only for a provincial poverty reduction plan but also makes  20 public policy recommendations that would help reduce the child poverty rate to seven percent or less by 2020. United Way helps move families from poverty to possibility. Please give.  

JenniferYNew child poverty report card for BC published

New Westminster a city of contrasts: community profile published

by JenniferY on November 21, 2016 Comments Off on New Westminster a city of contrasts: community profile published
Children participate in Read and Run at New Westminster's Qayqiyt Elementary school.

Children participate in Read and Run at New Westminster’s Qayqiyt Elementary school.

Western Canada’s oldest city is a city of contrasts. New Westminster has the second highest median family income in Metro Vancouver yet shares the highest unemployment rate. Of the 25-64 age group, 59 percent of the population has a college degree or higher but the city also has the highest percentage of 18 year olds who did not graduate high school compared to neighbouring municipalities. A comprehensive report published today by United Way of the Lower Mainland, New Westminster Community Profile, breaks down population, economic and social statistics in six neighbourhoods in New Westminster: Connaught Heights; Downtown-Stewardson; Queens Park; Queensborough; Sapperton; and Uptown. Data is compared to Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver and Metro Vancouver. The United Way of the Lower Mainland New Westminster Community Profile includes information on:

  • Population (demographics, growth trends, languages spoken)
  • Economic factors (income, unemployment rates, education, housing)
  • Social factors (homelessness, family structure, childhood vulnerability, causes of death)
  •  Data on calls handled by bc211, the 24/7 multilingual social service help line that United Way funds

  In 2015, United Way invested $550,000 in New Westminster funding 37 organizations that deliver 44 programs and services to residents. Programs and services supported by United Way include early childhood development, after-school programs, senior support, refugee support, and food security. “Neighbourhood-specific research like this helps not only United Way but also municipalities, school districts and other social service organizations plan for the future,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “Research also helps United Way make smart community investments.” This is the fifth Community Profile published by United Way of the Lower Mainland over the past year. Other community profiles are: Delta Community Profile, Richmond Community Profile, Surrey/White Rock Community Profile, and Tri-Cities Community Profile. New Westminster Community Profile HighlightsPopulation

  • New Westminster’s population in 2011 was 65,976 residents. From 2001 to 2011, the city experienced a 21% growth rate, second only to Surrey’s 35% growth rate from 2001 to 2011. Population projections estimate that the city will grow by 52 percent by the year 2041 to 102,000 people. • 25% of New Westminster’s population lived in Uptown, and 24% in Downtown-Stewardson. • Between 2007 and 2011, almost 3,500 babies were born in the New Westminster Local Health Area representing a live birth rate of 10.75 (births per 1000 population). This is higher than the BC rate of 9.89 and second only to Surrey with a live birth rate of 13.47. • 33% of New Westminster’s population were immigrants in 2011, a smaller rate by comparison than Surrey at 41% and Richmond at 60%. • 35% of New Westminster’s residents have a non-English mother tongue. • The top four languages spoken by New Westminster School District students at home are English (61%); Mandarin (5.8%); Tagalog/Phillipino (4.5%); and Punjabi (3.7%).

  Economic indicators

  • The median family income in New Westminster was $78,026, second highest among comparison municipalities with Surrey being the highest at $78,283.
  • The number of low-income children under 18 is lowest in New Westminster (18.9%) compared to the Metro Vancouver rate of 24.6% and Richmond with the highest rate at 25.4%.
  • The unemployment rate in New Westminster was 7.9%, matched with Surrey, the highest among the comparison municipalities.
  • The top three occupations in New Westminster were: sales and service (22.9%); business, finance and administration (18.5%); and trades, transport and equipment operators (14.2%).

  Social indicators

  • 33.2% of children in New Westminster did not graduate from high school between 2009/10 and 2011/12. This rate was higher than Surrey at 24.7% and Vancouver at 31.6%.
  • Apartments make up over 68% of New Westminster’s dwellings. This is higher than all comparison communities with the next highest being Vancouver at 60%.
  • In the 2014 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver, New Westminster recorded 106 homeless people.
  • From 2009 to 2011, New Westminster recorded 3.9 violent crime offences, 7.7 property offences and 5.2 motor vehicle thefts per 1000 population, all higher than the BC averages.

  Calls for assistance to the bc211 help line

  • In 2015, there were 2,188 calls to bc211 from New Westminster. The top reasons for calls were housing and homelessness; abuse; basic needs; and substance use.

  United Way of the Lower Mainland New Westminster Community Profile Data sources: 2011 Census; bc211; UBC HELP; 2014 Homeless Count.

JenniferYNew Westminster a city of contrasts: community profile published

United, we are community.

by Tracy Green on November 18, 2016 Comments Off on United, we are community.

  This week we learned of hateful, racist flyers  distributed in Richmond, and a swastika spray-painted on a North Vancouver street. These acts do not reflect the community that we live in, or the Canada that we love. At United Way of the Lower Mainland, we are beyond appalled. Today, we are reaching out to all across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley to say that we must join together to fight discrimination and hate. For decades, we have worked with generous donors, dedicated organizations and incredible volunteers to create a community that we can all be proud of. Together we connect newcomers to programs and services, we welcome refugees and help them build a better life, we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, we strengthen our Indigenous community, and so much more. Diversity is the heartbeat of our city. It’s what makes our community rich, vibrant and beautiful. Age, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, differing abilities, values and beliefs–these are just some of the many differences that help to make up the very fabric of our community. Our vision at United Way of the Lower Mainland is that we live and breathe every day in a healthy, caring, and inclusive community. A community where everyone can access opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter where they live or where they’re from. For a city to be great, it has to be great for everyone. Everyone in our community has the right to live, participate, and work in a community that is free from discrimination and harassment. We must be vigilant to prevent these dangerous sentiments from growing, and becoming a regular occurrence in what we know is a warm and welcoming city. Today, we must all stand up and fight against this hate and discrimination – this simply cannot become our new normal. Let’s all stand united for strong communities. Kids, families and seniors need your help. Please give. Share this:    #unitedwearecommunity    

Tracy GreenUnited, we are community.

United, we are community.

by Tracy Green on November 18, 2016 Comments Off on United, we are community.

  This week we learned of hateful, racist flyers  distributed in Richmond, and a swastika spray-painted on a North Vancouver street. These acts do not reflect the community that we live in, or the Canada that we love. At United Way of the Lower Mainland, we are beyond appalled. Today, we are reaching out to all across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley to say that we must join together to fight discrimination and hate. For decades, we have worked with generous donors, dedicated organizations and incredible volunteers to create a community that we can all be proud of. Together we connect newcomers to programs and services, we welcome refugees and help them build a better life, we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, we strengthen our Indigenous community, and so much more. Diversity is the heartbeat of our city. It’s what makes our community rich, vibrant and beautiful. Age, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, differing abilities, values and beliefs–these are just some of the many differences that help to make up the very fabric of our community. Our vision at United Way of the Lower Mainland is that we live and breathe every day in a healthy, caring, and inclusive community. A community where everyone can access opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter where they live or where they’re from. For a city to be great, it has to be great for everyone. Everyone in our community has the right to live, participate, and work in a community that is free from discrimination and harassment. We must be vigilant to prevent these dangerous sentiments from growing, and becoming a regular occurrence in what we know is a warm and welcoming city. Today, we must all stand up and fight against this hate and discrimination – this simply cannot become our new normal. Let’s all stand united for strong communities. Kids, families and seniors need your help. Please give. Share this:    #unitedwearecommunity    

Tracy GreenUnited, we are community.

Food bank use in B.C. at record high

by JenniferY on November 15, 2016 Comments Off on Food bank use in B.C. at record high

The 2016 HungerCount report, published by Food Banks Canada shows that food bank use in BC is at a record high. In March, 2016, 103,400 people living in British Columbia received assistance from a local food bank when the annual hunger count took place. Food bank use has increased 3.4 percent since 2015 and has increased three years in a row in B.C. Of the food bank users, 32 percent were children. In a story published on www.cbc.ca, Shawn Pegg, the director of policy and research at Food Banks Canada and the author of the report, said the increase in B.C. is tied to the high cost of living and the disappearance of high paying jobs. “We see people working two or three part-time jobs and still being unable to make ends meet. We also see people transitioning back and forth between low paid work and social assistance,” he said. United Way and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Working Poverty Report revealed that there are over 100,000 people living across the Lower Mainland who are working but not earning enough to escape poverty. Pegg said that food bank users range from “households who worry about not being able to afford enough food, to households who eat less and lower quality foods to save money, and households who skip meals altogether to survive.” He said people experiencing what he calls “food insecurity” often turn to a food bank as a last resort. “We find people often ask friends and family for help. They sell their possessions to be able to buy food. They move into lower quality housing and take on credit card debt before choosing to go to a food bank,” he said. According to the annual hunger count report, more than 863,000 Canadians accessed a food bank in the past year, up 28 per cent since before the 2008 recession. Single people living alone have grown as a proportion of households helped. A large number of households accessing food banks are on some form of government assistance, including pension, disability-related income supports, and welfare. The HungerCount report also showed that 13 percent of people who used food banks in the past year across Canada were immigrants or refugees. The Surrey Food Bank had a 17 per cent increase in the last year due in large part to Syrian refugees, according to a story published in The Globe and Mail. Over 1,500 government assisted refugees arrived in BC this year from Syria. More than 50 percent settled in Surrey. United Way of the Lower Mainland helps Stop the Growl by funding 21 food initiatives in the Lower Mainland. United Way gives people the skills and knowledge they need to access and prepare nutritious food for their families through community kitchens, community gardens and food education. Last year, 1.5 million meals or snacks were served to kids, families and seniors through United Way community service providers. Healthy families and kids pay it forward helping to make our communities stronger. United Way helps people move from poverty to possibility. Learn more.

JenniferYFood bank use in B.C. at record high

Let’s come together this Remembrance Day

by Tracy Green on November 10, 2016 Comments Off on Let’s come together this Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day November 11th marks the end of hostilities during the First World War and an opportunity to remember all those that have served our country. When we come together as a community to recognize the sacrifices of those before us, we are given an opportunity to reaffirm our Canadian values and institutions, our right to choose our own government and our freedom to participate in cultural and political events in our communities.  These rights and freedoms are an integral part of our Canadian identity. Here are a few ways you can connect with your neighbours and help build strong communities this Remembrance Day:

  • Attend a Remembrance Day ceremony (see the full list here)
  • Ask a Veteran about his or her wartime experiences and contributions to the war effort.
  • Share your family stories with a neighbour and ask them about their story.
  • Call your local seniors centre or legion and volunteer to help with Remembrance Day activities.
  • Talk to your family about the contributions that Veterans have made to Canada and others that have sacrificed for our rights and freedoms and take a moment to remember.
  • Visit onlinemomentofsilence.com to schedule a blank post on November 11th and #ShareYourSilence . This post will automatically be published to your social accounts on November 11.

  United Way is committed to building strong and healthy communities, where people feel connected and supported. We help people access services and opportunities to that help them thrive, regardless of their age or where they live in the Lower Mainland. To learn more about the work we do in community click here.          

Tracy GreenLet’s come together this Remembrance Day

See Labour Community Advocate Gwenne Farrell, November 29

by Tracy Green on November 8, 2016 Comments Off on See Labour Community Advocate Gwenne Farrell, November 29

Gwenne Farrell United Way When we work together, amazing things are possible. United Way’s partnership with the Labour movement is a great example of this. And the Labour Community Advocates program is the cornerstone of our partnership. Labour Community Advocates link workers facing workplace, personal or family challenges with resources in the community. Many of these resources and services, whether they be agencies or programs, are supported by United Way. Join us Tuesday, November 29, 7:30 – 8:30 AM at the Labour Community Advocates Breakfast at the 57th Annual BC Federation of Labour Convention and hear from Labour Community Advocate, MoveUP Vice President and long-time United Way supporter, Gwenne Farrell about this important program. “The Labour Community Advocates program is extremely beneficial for our workers and for our community,” said Gwenne. “At MoveUp and unions across BC, we encourage all of our workers to get this important training.” Labour Community Advocates also help identify community issues where a union can play a role through collective bargaining or social action; and they support community activism among union members, unions and labour organizations. The Labour Community Advocates Breakfast takes place at the Westin Bayshore at 1601 Bayshore Drive in Vancouver. Tickets are $25. Get yours today.

Tracy GreenSee Labour Community Advocate Gwenne Farrell, November 29

Money available for your child’s education

by JenniferY on November 2, 2016 Comments Off on Money available for your child’s education

BURNABY, BC_FEB 6_2014: Stride Elementary School after school program for children ages 6 - 12. (Photo by Kim Stallknecht) November is Financial Literacy Month. Did you know there is free money available to you to start saving for your child’s education? All B.C. kids born in 2006 or later are eligible to receive $1,200 from the provincial B.C. Training & Education Savings Grant. To access the funds, you only need to set up an Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) account to apply for and receive the money. You may also be eligible for a Canada Learning Bond if your child was born after 2004 and your family net income is less than $45,000. Without an RESP, kids miss out on the federal and provincial education savings incentives they are entitled to receive from the government. United Way of the Lower Mainland and Success By 6 BC are partnering with SmartSAVER, a not-for-profit organization, to make sure that families take advantage of the funds available to them. Yes, it’s FREE MONEY for families to get education savings started, even when they have no money of their own to contribute.

RESP for kids in BC

 

Are you missing out on free government money for your child’s future education?

B.C. families can open a no-fee, zero required contribution Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and receive free government money for their kids’ higher education. All you need to start is:

  1. The Social Insurance Number (SIN), name and date of birth of the child who this is for. (need a social insurance number? click here)
  2. The Parent/Guardian’s SIN and contact information

  Click here to get started. United Way invests in early learning initiatives so that children have the best start in school and by extension, the best start in life. For school-age children, we invest in after-school programs so that children feel they belong, grow their confidence and become all they can be. With a registered education savings plan, you can help your child continue their journey whatever path they choose to follow.

JenniferYMoney available for your child’s education