Province to provide $24 million for supports benefiting families living on low incomes

The excerpt below has been taken from a press release posted on the BC Provincial government’s website. Read the full press release here:

“The Province is investing $24 million to increase access for low-income families to fresh food, dental and hearing care for children, and to support community initiatives to reduce poverty.

The funding includes $10 million to Food Banks BC to help the organization’s 100 food banks throughout the province receive, store and distribute fresh, healthy food to those in need.

Food Banks BC will invest $6.5 million for transporting nutritious food from farms, grocery stores and restaurants and $3.5 million for refrigeration to store and distribute the food. This funding builds on the Provincial Farmers’ Food Donation Tax Credit announced in 2016.

This tax credit was designed to connect B.C. families needing food supports with more healthy fresh food by encouraging food producers and farmers to donate surplus agricultural products – such as fresh vegetables, meat, grain and dairy – to local foodbanks and charities. The $10-million investment will mean that food banks throughout B.C. will now have the proper capacity to receive these fresh products and deliver them to families.

The Province is also increasing funding by $6 million annually for the BC Healthy Kids Program to include coverage for hearing aids and improve rates for dental services for children. Almost $23 million a year is currently invested in the program which provides dental care and prescription eyewear to children living in low-income families. About 166,000 low and moderate-income families are eligible for Healthy Kids supports. The changes will come into effect in September 2017.

An additional $1 million in one-time funding will go to the BC Dental Association (BCDA) to further support regular dental care for children from low-income families. The funds will help cover operating and capital costs – such as replacement equipment – at 20 not-for-profit community dental clinics throughout the province that provide dental treatment at reduced cost to low-income families.

To help communities address the root causes of poverty at the local level, government is investing $7 million for a new Community Poverty Reduction Fund that will support community-driven programs tailored to the unique circumstances and needs of each region. This fund responds to feedback the Province has received from communities participating in the Community Poverty Reduction Strategies Initiative and other organizations involved with poverty reduction.

The fund will be administered by the Vancouver Foundation and support initiatives such as developing local strategies to reduce poverty, growing local partnerships and launching poverty reduction pilot projects that are either innovative or proving successful in other jurisdictions.”