Action to End Poverty in Alberta is a non-profit initiative that works collaboratively with all levels of government, the community and with people experiencing poverty, to help develop and implement a comprehensive strategy and action plan to end poverty in Alberta.
Action to End Poverty in Alberta believes that it makes sense to invest in a comprehensive provincial poverty reduction strategy that integrates with the efforts of local governments, private sector initiatives and actions at the community level. Working collaboratively to prevent poverty and springboard people into greater self-sufficiency is more cost effective than continually spending to alleviate the effects of poverty.
Working together we can improve the lives of individuals and families in Alberta. The next steps are critical. There is nothing inevitable about poverty in a society as wealthy as ours. If we commit to a bold plan, a dramatic reduction in poverty within a few short years is possible.
Vision: An Alberta without Poverty
Goal: To create and help implement a comprehensive plan to prevent, reduce and ultimately eliminate poverty in Alberta.
To do this, AEPA acts as a catalyst for engaging stakeholders and a hub for the exchange and gathering of information from across the province and the nation in order to;
- Promote a provincial poverty reduction strategy
- Develop policy on poverty reduction
- Build inter-governmental networks
- Advocate for those living in poverty
Poverty Costs Report
In February 2012 AEPA and Vibrant Communities Calgary co-published an important report, Poverty Costs: An Economic Case for a Preventative Poverty Reduction Strategy in Alberta. Poverty Costs focuses on the economic costs of poverty and posits that the effects of poverty in Alberta costs us all as much as $9.5 billion dollars per year in expensive public services such as health care, crime and justice system expenses, and in lost economic opportunities for persons living in poverty as well as unrealized tax revenue.
This report was positively received by Alberta's premier and other government members. Premier Redford has shown important leadership and commitment to ending child poverty, addressing root causes and reducing poverty in Alberta. The Ministry of Human Services has taken key initiative to engage Albertans in developing a social policy framework and has identified a provincial poverty reduction strategy as a key outcome of the Social Policy Framework.
NEXT STEPS: Poverty Costs 2.0: Creating Policies that Save
Vibrant Communities Calgary and Action to End Poverty in Alberta are now embarking on a follow-up to the Poverty Costs Report. From the start of the Poverty Costs project we conceived of a follow-up report to propose evidence-informed ideas for solving poverty. Where the Poverty Costs report demonstrated economic costs of poverty to all of us, Poverty Costs 2.0 is about sharing great ideas to help us invest in lasting solutions to poverty.
The ideas will come in the form of policy recommendations to help move forward on the provincial commitment to create a 5 year plan to end child poverty and a 10 year plan to reduce poverty (this commitment will likely be embedded within the Alberta Social Policy Framework, currently under development.)
AEPA is governed by a Steering Committee which includes members of the Inter-city Forum on Social Policy. The Steering Committee promotes and raises awareness of the need for a poverty reduction plan, acts as advisor to the coordinator of the initiative and oversees the budget for the initiative.
AEPA is funded though MOMENTUM, as well as the ICFSP, grants from community organizations and donations by individuals concerned about poverty.
Action to End Poverty in Alberta was created in February 2011 with funding from the Inter-City Forum on Social Policy. The ICFSP, an intergovernmental committee which facilitates information sharing and advocacy for and among Alberta Cities and major urban areas and the people within them had for many years been concerned about and researching the impacts of poverty in Alberta.
In 2010, member municipalities of ICFSP strongly agreed to play a leadership role in engaging interested stakeholders to promote the need for a comprehensive poverty-reduction plan for Alberta.
In November 2010, ICFSP and the Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta (FCSSAA) hosted a conference called, "A Dialogue on Poverty" Over 100 concerned Albertans from across the province participated. Response from the forum unanimously supported the development of a poverty reduction plan.
To engage the community and move the development of a poverty reduction plan forward, ICFSP proposed and funded a new initiative called Action to End Poverty in Alberta. They invited stakeholders to be part of a steering committee to oversee this initiative. The Steering Committee was charged with putting conditions in place that would lead to the development and implementation of a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for Alberta. To do this, the committee would promote and raises awareness of the need for a poverty reduction plan, act as advisor to the coordinator of the initiative and oversee the budget for the initiative. Members of the Committee along with the Coordinator of AEPA would also act as spokespersons for the poverty-reduction strategy initiative.
In August 2012, The AEPA initiative joined MOMENTUM, one of Canada's most successful Community Economic Development organizations. Joe Ceci continues as Coordinator of AEPA and adds a new role, Manager of Public Policy for Momentum.
This move enhances the efforts of both organizations to support governments in Alberta to develop poverty reduction strategies. Being part of Momentum helps Action to End Poverty in Alberta scale up operations, access other funding sources and connect with more organizations and people united in eliminating poverty in Alberta.
The AEPA Steering Committee continues to promote a poverty reduction plan and act in an advisory role to the coordinator. As well the ICFSP remains involved in funding this initiative and in helping provide direction and broader provincial buy-in to the goal of poverty elimination.