Weekly Richmond PRC information round-up 2022

man using laptop

As another wave of the pandemic sweeps across the country, coupled with natural disasters caused by climate change, in-person and/or virtual services offered by Richmond PRC member organizations are more important than ever. Check back weekly for regular news and updates from service providers and the various levels of government. If you or someone you know would like to join the RPRC please visit our website for more information.

May 9

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 19th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

The RPRC hope all you mothers out there had a lovely Mother’s Day. As well, May is: Asian Heritage Month, Food Bank Month, and Child Care Month. Lots to celebrate – Enjoy the feast of newsy items below!

-> The month of May is Food Bank Month! (Thanks to Hajira Hussain)

Throughout the month of May, the Mayors of Vancouver, City of North Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Chilliwack, and White Rock have all come together for the Mayors’ Food Bank Challenge. They are challenging the Mayors in each of these cities to rally their communities to raise funds for food banks in their neighborhoods. Donations made to the cities of Vancouver, City of North Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster will be supporting the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, while donations made to the other participating cities will go to their local food bank. Although Richmond’s Mayor Brodie is not competing, you are most welcome to donate online to the Richmond Food Bank.

-> May is also Child Care Month! (Thanks to Richmond News)

The City of Richmond is kicking off Child Care Month with two planned events in May. Child Care Month, which is celebrated every May in B.C., recognizes the work and dedication of early childhood educators and child care providers who support the well-being of children. Child care was emphasized as an important essential service during the pandemic, according to Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “The city is committed to working in partnership with child care stakeholders to ensure the needs of Richmond families and children are addressed,” said Brodie, adding that currently, there are over 7,700 licensed child care facilities in Richmond. The first event is a Child Care Symposium that is scheduled to take place virtually on Zoom on May 7 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information email childcare@richmond.ca.

-> Build the right homes in Richmond and community will come (Thanks to Richmond News)

Richmond News editor Eve Edmonds weighs in on the whole giant homes debate in Richmond. Almost the moment we posted our story on housing and changing neighbourhoods it started trending. That surprised me, not because it isn’t a great story — it is, but because it feels like an old one. About seven years ago, there was a particularly high wave of anxiety regarding older, modest (in other words affordable) homes getting demolished and replaced with three-story mansions — grain elevators as some called them. At the time, the city blamed “a loophole” that allowed certain properties to be developed far larger than what municipal bylaws allowed. That loophole was eventually closed, but the deadline was set for some time in the future, which resulted in a rush of applications. And if the application got in on time, developers still had time before they had to actually start building.

-> Who are we building these giant houses for in Richmond? (Thanks to Richmond News)

Where have all the people gone? The Richmond News took a tour around the city to witness and report on the big changes in some of our neighbourhoods and it’s not all for the better. Driving around some neighbourhoods in west and central Richmond, there is, with regularity, something odd. There is something connecting many of these quiet, residential streets, yet there is also something conspicuous by its absence. What connects them is the proliferation of massive homes – some relatively young – being torn down and/or rebuilt into even larger properties. What’s missing is life. People. Families. Children.

-> Generous Futures: ‘Destigmatizing Mental Health’ webinar May 17th 110-11 am PDT (Thanks to Cory Tymich)

Free online event! “The pandemic has served as an urgent call to action for increased mental health support. How do we challenge the stigma associated with mental health and move towards greater acceptance? How do disability, poverty, racism and sexual orientation impact access and resourcing? This panel of leaders in the field will discuss these questions and shed light on what has been done and what the future holds.” Register here.

-> Apply for a City of Richmond Neighbourhood Celebration Grant (Thanks to City Staff)

Are you a Richmond based neighbourhood group, not-for-profit community group, Parent Advisory Committee, Community Association or Student Council with a creative idea for an event that will build community connections and neighbourhood pride? Richmond’s Neighbourhood Celebration Grant Program provides funding up to $2,500 to support the delivery of initiatives that will reconnect residents through grassroots community events and shared experiences that can be delivered safely throughout the summer and fall of 2022. Examples of events that are eligible for funding include neighbourhood block parties, community picnics and inclusive cultural celebrations.
Deadline for submissions is May 23, 2022. Visit the website to apply.

-> Richmond Community Protocol on Anti-Racism (Thanks to Alan Hill and Richmond News)

The RPRC is a member of Richmond’s Community Collaborative Table (CCT). The CCT and Resilience BC is helping to push forward progress in our community in recommending anti-racism and anti-discrimination protocols to local decision makers. Alan Hill says, ‘the recent launch of the Richmond Community Protocol has led to some very interesting developments at Richmond City Council.’ See the Richmond News article and the City’s YouTube channel.

-> Preview of Seniors Week June 6-12 (Thanks to Tanya Fitzpatrick)

Just wanted to let you know that the City of Richmond and Community Partners are celebrating Seniors Week from June 6-12, with fun, free and low-cost activities, events, and informational opportunities – online or in-person! We would really appreciate it if you could help us spread the word so we can celebrate as many seniors as possible in our community. This year’s theme is Communities of Strength – Powered by Age. Click for the full brochure.

May 2

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 18th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Spotlight on the Richmond Family Place Thrift Store (Thanks to Ruth Taverner)

The Richmond Family Place (RFP) Thrift Store is a social enterprise that generates income directly for RFP programs and operations. Through the store, they can serve Richmond families by providing low-cost clothing, toys, books, jewellery, and other small household items.

Open 6 days a week between 10:30 AM – 3:30 PM, our store is run almost entirely by dedicated volunteers—who work approximately 60 hours per week! Drop by and check out the special shopping days and discounts. 30% off on certain items Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Purchase a whole bag of clothes for $10 on Thursday (adults) and Saturday (students and RFP members)! Some exclusions apply. Richmond Family Place is at 8660 Ash Street off Francis.

-> Richmond Mental Health Consumer & Friends Society – RCFC (Thanks to Cory Tymich)

The Richmond Mental Health Consumer and Friends’ Society (RCFC) is a member of the RPRC and is a self-governing peer-run mental health organization. We provide peer support and a full calendar of exciting and diverse activities to adult mental health consumers living in Richmond, B.C. RCFC is looking for a Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator. The job is responsible for the Therapeutic Recreation Program’s overall management. Other responsibilities include maintaining a caring and welcoming environment for adult mental health consumers.

-> Unite Here – Local 40 workers mark one year anniversary of strike in Richmond (Thanks to Stephanie Fung)

A Rally will take place on Thursday May 12th at 5 pm at Pacific Gateway Hotel, 3500 Cessna Drive, to mark Unite Here member/ hotel workers one-year strike with Pacific Gateway Hotel. In May 2021, the hotel terminated 143 long-term workers, mostly women, during the pandemic. The firings came after the federal government took over the hotel as a quarantine site and brought in contractors. The feds left the hotel earlier this year, but Pacific Gateway workers continue to fight back against mass firings and economic rollbacks. RSVP to attend this historic event.

-> Fighting racism added to Richmond RCMP priorities (Thanks to Richmond News)

In a 2021 RCMP report, statistics were noted that sixty-one per cent of hate crimes and incidents in Richmond were against Asians, while 19 per cent were against Blacks.
Richmond city council voted unanimously to have the RCMP add fighting racism to its list of priorities this year. The RCMP’s suggested work plan for 2022/23 included prioritizing property crime, organized crime, road safety and vulnerable persons, but Coun. Chak Au pointed out statistics show a rise in hate crimes and incidents in Richmond and suggested this be added as a priority. Acting officer in charge, Supt. Julie Drotar, noted statistics from 2021 show 61 per cent of the 46 racially motivated hate crimes and incidents in Richmond were against Asians, 19 per cent were against Blacks and 13 per cent were against South Asians and Middle Easterners. Read more.

-> BC’s Mental Health Act Will Be Overhauled (Thanks to The Tyee)

Attorney General David Eby says ‘dated’ legislation will get a ‘significant modernization.’ The province introduced amendments to the legislation Thursday to create an independent service to advise people detained involuntarily about their rights. That same day, an all-party legislative committee examining the Police Act recommended a “broad review” of the Mental Health Act, echoing calls from the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson and legal advocacy organizations. “Anytime that the government is stepping in, and essentially taking over control of some aspect of some person’s life, we’re doing a review of those processes and that legislation because it’s very dated,” said Eby, noting the review will include public guardianship laws for seniors and adults, too. See the article.

-> City of Richmond Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy – Update 2021 (Thanks to Dorothy Jo)

The City of Richmond’s 2017–2022 Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy, which was adopted by City Council on July 24, 2017, outlines short- and long-term actions to support the development of a comprehensive childcare system in Richmond. In the 2021 Update, the City continues to implement the actions outlined in the Strategy and has seen a 33% increase in licensed childcare spaces in Richmond over the past five years since the Strategy was developed. Despite these significant gains, the demand for childcare in Richmond continues to exceed the supply. If you have questions or would like additional information on the 2017–2022 Richmond Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy – 2021 Update please contact Chris Duggan, Program Manager, Child Care and Youth at 604-204-8621.

->Ask City of Richmond about Capital Projects 2022 (Thanks to Let’s Talk Richmond)

Flood protection, various transportation initiatives, critical building, park upgrades, and even some public art, are just a few of the interesting projects you can click through and learn about with the City of Richmond’s Capital Projects Highlights 2022. From any digital device, visit LetsTalkRichmond.ca to learn more. Ask questions online until Sunday, May 29, 2022.

->City of Richmond Virtual Diversity Symposium (Thanks to Dorothy Jo)

The City of Richmond is seeking presentation proposals for the 2022 Virtual Diversity Symposium which will be held from October 24 to 28, 2022. We are looking for proposals that focus on emerging issues and trends, best practices and innovative ideas, or thought-provoking dialogues around the practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Given the virtual format of the conference, applicants must be comfortable and proficient with giving virtual presentations and engaging audiences in an online setting. Deadline for submission is Monday June 6th at 5.00 pm.

->Victoria Council fast tracks affordable housing approvals (Thanks to City of Victoria newsletter)

Victoria City Council has unanimously passed new legislation to accelerate construction of new affordable housing in the City, following a public hearing this evening. Projects by non-profit, government or co-op housing organizations will no longer require rezonings or public hearings when they are consistent with the City’s Official Community Plan and related design guidelines. “The change we made tonight will get more affordable homes built more quickly for families, workers and people who need it the most,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “Council is taking a bold step to remove the uncertainly around affordable housing decisions and cut red tape. It’s the first of hopefully many tectonic shifts in how Victoria is improving the housing development process.” Victoria is the first municipality in B.C. to approve a city-wide accelerated process for qualifying affordable housing projects.

April 25

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 17th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

There’s a variety of news this week on food security, housing, income equity, safety, and childcare. Thanks to our contributors!

->Richmond Presbyterian Church needs community meal volunteers (Thanks to Vic Beltran)

Richmond Presbyterian Church is a member of the RPRC and is located at 7111 No 2 Road (at Granville). The church prepares and serves free hot meals to the Richmond community every Monday night from 4.30- 6.00 pm. They need people to do volunteer clean up and dishwashing. Anyone looking for a good way to give back to the community, please contact Vic at vbeltran@belcas.com.

->FSGV Money Skills Workshops in May (Thanks to Murray Baker)

Family Services is offering a series of Money Skills workshops for financial empowerment for individuals and families on low incomes. This program is to point out to Richmond residents the many benefits offered by the provincial and federal governments that people do not apply for. Zoom workshops in May include “Federal and Provincial Benefit Plans, Budgeting and goal Setting, and Registered Saving & Investment Plans.” If interested please contact Murray at mbaker@fsgv.ca.

->Richmond Advocacy & Support Committee (RASC) Project (Thanks to Athena Estremadura)

The RPRC’s exciting new project is entitled “Improving Pedestrian Safety in Richmond” and we are looking for self-identified Richmond residents on low incomes who want to learn job-ready skills as a Project Assistant. Participants will earn a certificate and a modest honorarium. The real bonus is learning on the job! If you know anyone who fits the bill, let them know about the project by sharing the poster or email info@richmondprc.org for more information.

->Tension at City Hall (Thanks to Richmond News)

What are public hearings on real estate developments for and should we continue holding them? There were some testy exchanges at Richmond City Hall this week and one member of the public felt it was “insulting” at a suggestion city council doesn’t really need to hold some public hearings. In response to Cllr. Alexa Loo’s comments about people outside of a development proposal’s neighbourhood at a public hearing on April 18th, Richmond resident Laura Gillanders said, “Don’t have a public hearing if you’re going to say ‘you know, public, we didn’t really need to hear from you, we’re granting you this opportunity, but it means nothing. It should mean something.” See story.

-> Two solitudes of housing in Richmond (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thanks to the Richmond News for publishing a letter to the Editor from yours truly. This was in response to two letters posted side-by-side the previous week. The RPRC regularly advocates for truly affordable housing for the large percentage of our population who are on low incomes. “I enjoyed your substitute editorial on April 14! I read both letters about housing in Richmond with great interest. I know both writers and consider them friends and colleagues. One is a well-respected housing developer, who regularly appears before city council to speak on local housing proposals. I also know many of his housing developments include LEMR (low end market rental) units. The other is a retired outreach worker who says she has tried on several occasions to secure LEMR units for her clients but has never found one.”

-> How a massive expansion of rental homes can literally pay for itself (Thanks to Canadian Centre for policy Alternatives)

In the face of a mounting housing crisis, what if BC could massively increase public investment in below-market rental housing—and if that upfront investment could literally pay for itself, with no increase to taxpayer-supported debt? While this might sound too good to be true, it simply follows from the basic logic of rental housing development. When building new rental housing, the upfront costs of construction are offset by the stream of rental income the project generates over time. This is, of course, the premise on which private-sector rental housing developers base their business models. For them, building new housing is not a “cost”, but rather a way to generate substantial profits. More here.

->Richmond Permanent Urgent and Primary Care Centre (Thanks to Deb Turner)

Richmond’s new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) is opening on April 25, 2022, at its permanent location at #110 – 4671 No. 3 Road. Urgent care will be available Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Statutory holidays will follow the same service hours. If you need a family doctor you can register on the website.

->Vancouver Status of Women Grant Opportunity (Thanks to Clare Yow)

This comes via a Richmond Women’s Resource Centre member. The Women’s Centre is also a member of the RPRC. Vancouver Status of Women is pleased to welcome applications from self-identifying Indigenous, Black, and/or racialized women and gender diverse people in the Lower Mainland to for our Community Action Grants program. This grant is specifically designed for grassroots projects, small businesses, and community organizations led by individuals or small groups that are underserved by mainstream grants and wealth distribution.

-> Childcare spaces being built on school grounds (Thanks to Richmond News)

More good news on childcare in Richmond! Joint federal-provincial funding through ChildCareBC, will pay for three new childcare centres in Richmond. The standalone modular buildings are expected to be installed by summer 2023 and will add 140 new childcare spots in Richmond. Manoah Steves elementary and Maple Lane elementary will each get 50 new childcare spaces in a building located on school grounds. The new childcare centre at the Richmond Jewish Day School will have 40 spots. Read the article.

>Traffic Safety around schools is paramount (Thanks to Richmond News)

This report is in line with the RPRC’s current project on Pedestrian Safety. City Councillors on Monday April 25th will hear that City staff will be consulting with the city’s Traffic Safety Advisory Committee while developing a plan to make sure traffic safety at all Richmond schools is consistent. The plan includes making sure safety measures are in place for students walking to and from school, reducing vehicle speeds and managing congestion around student pick-up and drop-off areas.

April 18

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our ​16th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Laid-off workers appeal to Richmond city councillors (Thanks to Richmond News)

The RPRC is a long-time supporter of Unite Here Local 40, the union representing workers at the Pacific Gateway Hotel. Pacific Gateway Hotel is looking to add two more hotels to its Cessna Drive property. At the same time, they have laid off 143 workers who have been on strike since May 2021. Richmond City Council expressed sympathy for locked-out Pacific Gateway Hotel workers, and they asked staff to look in​to how the City could support their job action. The hotel workers asked City Council to boycott the hotel, pointing out in the past the city had held up to 100 events in a year there. Treva Martell, representing the union, said hotel staff have been highly involved in the community, taking part in many charitable events, and now it’s time for the community to back them. See the article.

-> Another letter about affordable housing (Thanks to Richmond News)

Keep those letters coming in! This one is sure to prompt more. Thanks to writer Dana Westermark for his letter in response to last week’s letter from writer Donna Colpitts. He says Richmond’s LEMR program is one of the most aggressive programs in the Lower Mainland. Westermark states, “I feel it is necessary to correct the outrageous errors in Ms. Colpitts’ letter. First, Richmond is far from the last in the provision of rental housing. The CMHC study she refers to looks at a very narrow window to rank municipalities on the number of units they constructed during that specific time. If one takes a wider view, Richmond fares very well in comparison to our neighbours.

The City of Richmond’s Low End of Market Rental (LEMR) program has been increased from five per cent of units to 10 per cent and even more, to 15 per cent in the City Centre. This is by far the most aggressive program in the Lower Mainland to create affordable rental.”

-> A Wicked problem – David Eby on Housing Fixes and Frustrations (Thanks to The Tyee)

What’s up with David Eby? The B.C. housing minister is full of fighting words these days. He blasted a recent report that claimed local governments were building enough homes as being “disconnected from lived reality.” He then went on CKNW to say that this attitude “flabbergasted” him, and told the Canadian Press that the “status quo is not acceptable.” And to all those skeptical about the need for more supply? His reply in the Globe and Mail, “I’ll be sure to mention that to all the people sleeping in their cars, and lining up to find rental units; that we are going to study the problem more.” Click here.

-> Victoria’s Tiny Town: How a collection of shipping containers became a community (Thanks to The Tyee and Victoria Times Colonist)

A possible solution to housing our homeless residents? A shipping-container ­village for those without homes prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary in May. For a community that allows no visitors, the Victoria Tiny Homes Village looks welcoming on the outside, with colourful murals adorning the sides of shipping containers arranged in a square, which also serve as the perimeter. But the entrance to the compound adjacent to Royal Athletic Park is more businesslike, with a controlled door bereft of ornamentation and a security guard keeping an eye on who is coming in. Visitors enter a courtyard where a pair of picnic tables is arranged under a shelter, interspersed with raised planters and deck chairs. This is the de-facto gathering place for the village’s 30 residents. Except for three women, the ­community is made up entirely of men, ranging in age from 22 to 70. Read the story.

-> News from the Richmond Arts Coalition (Thanks to Andrew Wade)

The RPRC is a member of the Richmond Arts Coalition (RAC). They are currently hard at work prepping for our Annual General Meeting, the Richmond Arts Awards, and the Richmond Maritime Festival; grappling with a malicious hack to our webhosting; advocating for the arts to different levels of government; and writing grant applications to hopefully bring in funding to support local artists. And some exciting news! Arts and Culture Centre Funding – The biggest news of the week is the City of Richmond receiving 2.23 million dollars in joint Federal and Provincial funding to repurpose the former Minoru Seniors Centre into an Arts Annex! This will provide much needed space for arts programming.

More on this from the Richmond News and Richmond Sentinel.

-> Global Access & Inclusion Foundation (GAIF) request for books and school supplies (Thanks to Kwaku Yeboah)

GAIT www.access-inclusion.org is a friend of the RPRC and member of the Food Aid Delivery Coalition. GAIT needs school supplies for kids from K-12. Most of the families and communities we support are struggling with literacy, especially for the children due to lack of these resources. We are hoping to inspire our communities to read and be interested in school as we get closer to the summer months. We are committed to accepting all donations and can drive to you for pick up. Just call or email to arrange time and place. Please call Kwaku at 604.250.5171 or email kwaku@access-inclusion.org to help out.

-> Draft Seniors Strategy 2022-2032 Public Engagement (Thanks to Tanya Fitspatrick and the City of Richmond)

By 2036, close to 40 per cent of Richmond’s population will be 55 years or older. Richmond seniors represent the fastest growing demographic in the city and are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. To meet the needs of this rapidly evolving population, the City is developing a new Seniors Strategy 2022–2032 and would like your input. Engagement runs April 5-24. The Strategy’s intent is to guide the City and stakeholders in supporting seniors in Richmond to age well consisting of five strategic directions with recommended actions to be completed over a 10-year period. We would love to hear your feedback and ask that you share your thoughts on this draft Strategy in a short 10 to 15 minute survey, which will be available until Sunday, April 24.

April 11

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 15th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Support for striking Pacific Gateway Hotel (PGH) workers tonight at City Hall!

The RPRC have been long-time supporters of Unite Here Local 40 and their workers, first at YVR (food services) and now the hotel workers at PGH who were fired in May 2021. Unite Here will be at City Council tonight at 7.00 pm to ask City Council to boycott the hotel until the labour dispute is over. Join us!

-> Family Service of Greater Vancouver – FSGV Financial Empowerment workshops (Thanks to Murray Baker)

The RPRC is promoting FSGV’s new Financial Empowerment ‘Money Skills’ project. Their first workshops are on Tax Preparedness. You must register for these two Tax workshops. Please see links below:

*Tax Workshop-April 20, 2022 (in Cantonese) from 10.30am to 12.30pm. This workshop is offer by FSGV Financial Empowerment Program.. If you want to learn about tax basics and how to file your tax on line, please join us on Zoom.

*Tax Workshop-April 27, 2022 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm (in English). This workshop is offered by FSGV Financial Empowerment Program.

-> RPRC commences a new project “Improving Pedestrian Safety in Richmond” (Thanks to VCH and Vision Zero)

The RPRC received a generous grant from Vision Zero and Vancouver Coastal Health to support a pedestrian safety survey, designed and executed by our network of low-income Richmond residents who regularly walk and roll to get on with their daily lives. This project is inviting people with lived experience of low-income to be a part of the network and to learn and practice job-ready skills as they participate in the project team. See attached media release. For more information and to find out how to apply for a team position, contact info@richmondprc.org.

-> Federal government Budget 2022 highlights (Thanks to CBC News)

There is some good news for low-income families and individuals in the 2022 budget. Some highlights of the federal budget include funding for affordable housing including co-ops; home buying help; and phased-in dental care for children, seniors, and low-income families. See CBC article here.

-> City Council blind to Richmond residents’ housing needs (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thanks to writer Donna Colpitts for keeping affordable housing in the news. She wrote a letter to the Editor, Richmond News saying, “With the exception of a few, our current city council appears to be turning a blind eye to the housing crisis in Richmond. Or even worse, they are aware of it and choose to ignore it in favour of catering to
large developers. Richmond’s record of rental units vs condos is appalling. Condo developers continue to reap huge profits while tens of thousands of Richmond residents struggle to find proper housing. The City cites their LEMR program as their solution to this problem, but these units have not been accessible to the general public – if they are built and offered at all.”

-> Parm Bains MP and Wilson Miao MP concerned about affordability in Richmond (Thanks to Richmond Sentinel)

The Sentinel asked: What were you most concerned about in terms of your riding and Richmond as a whole? Bains: I’ve been passionate about a few things and affordable housing has been a big one. Affordability in general is something that we need to tackle. One of the biggest pieces of constituency work is often immigration cases.
Miao: Affordability of housing and (the) labour shortage are definitely the biggest issues in both of our ridings right now. Also, I think many seniors and youth in our community (need attention). The pandemic brought challenging times and it’s important for us to create more awareness for our constituents to know where to seek assistance to access programs and grants for individuals, families, and organizations.

-> Richmond Centre for Disability – RCD Calendar – April to June (Thanks to Ella Huang)

Activity Calendar for April-June 2022 are available on RCD Website. Some select activities: IN-PERSON: Creative Arts (Starts Apr. 25, Mon 10-11:30am) and iPad Class (Start Apr 26, Tue 1-2pm); HYBRID CLASSES: Relaxation (On-going, Wed 11am-12pm) and Social Games Club (on-going, Tue 2:20-3:30pm); ZOOM: In Motion & Momentum + (Pre-employment Discovery) (Start Apr. 27, Wed 1-2pm) and Tom Talks (On-going, Mon 3-4pm).

-> Urban Bounty has community garden plots for non-profits (Thanks to Grace at Urban Bounty)

Urban Bounty is offering small plots (6 x 4 feet) free of charge to non-profit community organizations to use for their clients and members. These plots are in the Garden City Lands and represent Urban Bounty’s 12th community garden! The gardening plots, the soil, tools, and water are provided, and all you need to do is bring seeds, gloves, and a hat! The community garden has a unique design that differs from other community gardens around Richmond, we encourage you to visit the site to assess if the layout design meets the needs of your program. If your organization is interested in participating please complete the application by April 30, 2022 (see attached) or contact Grace at grace@urbanbounty.ca.

April 4

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 14th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

This week we have a variety of items on food security, housing, childcare, anti-racism, and workshops. Enjoy!

This just in!

-> Federal government to announce high-speed internet for low-income families (Thanks to CBC News)

An announcement is expected today for $20/ month internet access for hundreds of thousands of low-income seniors and families who will soon benefit from $20-per-month high-speed internet. This is a partnership between the federal government and more than a dozen internet service providers. Families receiving the maximum amount under the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and seniors receiving the maximum under the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will be eligible for internet with speeds of up to 50 megabits-per-second (Mbps) and 10 Mbps upload, or the fastest available speed in their region. The move, part of the government’s Connecting Families Initiative, has been branded Connecting Families 2.0. It both upgrades and expands what the government previously offered with Connecting Families 1.0. Under that plan, announced in 2017, families receiving the CCB could get access to internet for $10 a month. Learn more.

-> Richmond Food Bank starts a new program for clients aged 70+ (Thank to Alex Atkinson)

In February 2022, we had nearly 75 new households sign up for grocery assistance. In anticipation of longer wait times due to the growing need for our services, we are excited to pilot our “70+ Years Only Mornings” on Mondays and Wednesdays starting on April 4. The first half hour of our Monday and Wednesday distribution (11:00am-11:30am) will be reserved for clients who are 70 years of age or older. Clients who qualify are welcome to come at 10:30am to line up. We will have the number draw at 10:40 and open the doors to begin food pickups at 11:00am. Any clients who are not 70+ years old can join the line after 11:30. Please also see attached to this email, an RFB leaflet with food distribution hours.

-> Richmond Family Place invites new members (Thanks to Ruth Taverner)

Did you know that Richmond Family Place is a membership-based organization? Membership fees support our work by keeping our building open, providing quality early childhood materials, and supporting families in Richmond. We ask all participants to become members. Membership also has advantages: members will receive a discount at our Thrift Store, can register to attend our special events, and can attend our Annual General Meeting. We strive to make sure every family that wishes to become a member of Family Place can be. Membership fees are $25 a year per family. If that is a challenge for you, then we invite you to ‘pay what you can’ or talk to one of our Family Support Workers to find the best option for your family. We don’t want anyone to miss out! We value each and every one of you.

-> Parenting workshops presented in partnership with Learning Disabilities Society (Thanks to Richmond Public Library)

The Richmond Public Library and the Learning Disabilities Society are offering a series of parenting workshops from April through June, that may be of interest to you and your clients. Please feel free to share with your networks. Please see flyer attached.

-> The Public calls for equitable access to affordable LEMR rentals (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thanks to speakers Kathyrn McCreary, David Yang, and Mark Lee for their presentations at City Council’s meeting Monday March 28th asking for “equitable” access to affordable rentals in Richmond.They argued waitlists and a centralized registry could help manage low-end market rentals (LEMR) units fairly – LEMR units are built into new developments and are often managed by the owner. The idea was first brought forward by Kathryn McCreary at Monday’s city council meeting in regards to a housing agreement for a 134-unit development at 8131 Westminster Hwy. that was on the meeting agenda. McCreary noted the housing agreement, as currently written, allows the owners’ relatives to occupy a LEMR unit. “I think it would be appropriate that they too would have to go through a waiting list process so that they aren’t getting first dibs and safeguard the equitable distribution of these units in the community,” said McCreary.

LEMR units have controlled rents and the income of occupants have to be between certain minimums and maximums, depending on the unit size. McCreary added a waitlist for all LEMR units and a centralized registry, managed by the city, would allow for more “fair, equitable and inclusive” access to affordable housing. Also, the waitlist would benefit property managers and owners to easily draw tenants from the eligible list so rental units could be allocated on a “first-come first-serve basis,” she added. Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said staff would take McCreary’s concerns “under advisement when drafting future housing agreements.” See the article.

-> City of Burnaby is eager to build, but stymied by funding gap (Thanks to BC ACORN newsletter)

Like Richmond Council, Burnaby City Council would like the other levels of government to show them the money. The city has five city-owned properties “shovel ready” for affordable housing development, but a shortfall of senior government funding means the properties are still sitting vacant. Now, the city and its non-profit partners are attempting to find creative new ways to get the properties developed without the funding that they’d been hoping for. In the meantime, however, they have heard David Eby, B.C. attorney general and minister responsible for housing, publicly say that municipal approvals are tying up the delivery of housing amid an affordability crisis. More info here.

-> Atmosphere project seeks creditor protection (Thanks to Richmond News)

The owner of the yet-to-be built Atmosphere complex on No. 3 Road – an 800-unit housing development – has applied for creditor protection to restructure its business, and is reassuring presale owners their deposits are being held in trust. The project was halted more than a year ago after which its building permits expired, leaving a hole in the ground across the road from Lansdowne Shopping Centre. The owner, Alderbridge Way LP applied on Friday to the Supreme Court of B.C. for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, which would allow for restructuring of its business affairs, rather than having to declare bankruptcy. Under court supervision, the owner would then either figure out a way to move forward with the project or find a buyer.

The RPRC notes, this development has 824 units of housing, of which 112 will be market rentals and 38 ‘secured’ LEMR units. When or ‘if’ they will be built is in a deep hole. Keep reading.

-> Community Collaborative Table (CCT) Your Voice Matters (Thanks to Alan Hill and RMCS)

The RPRC is a member of the CCT in Richmond. The table sent us this important survey. The Government of Canada’s Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat is launching a consultation process on their National Action Plan on Combating Hate.

The Government of Canada is taking necessary actions to address the troubling rise of hate crimes and hate groups, not just because of the devastating consequences they have on the victims and their families, but also because they can divide our country and increase insecurity nationwide. That’s why, the government is launching consultations for the first ever National Action Plan on Combatting Hate. They want to ensure that people across Canada, particularly those with lived experience of hate, have their say in defining how this action plan will deliver tangible change. They are inviting to complete the online questionnaire by April 30, 2022

-> Richmond’s Connections Community Services Society launches a new Indigenous program (Thanks to Richmond News and Connections)

Connections Community Society is filling a big gap in services for the Indigenous community, starting this month. The Indigenous Voice and Vision program, which has been on hold for two years due to the pandemic, will roll out a series of workshops and drop-in sessions this spring for participants to choose from, including hand drum sessions, powwow dance and storytelling workshops. The new program will create a “holistic, strength-based approach to healing and education for Indigenous families, youth and children, and people of all ages are welcome to attend.

Meanwhile, for Indigenous people seeking support in areas such as mental health, addictions and life skills assessment, the program will also offer psychosocial rehabilitation services (PSR). The new program coordinator is Jack Horne, from the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation on Vancouver Island. For more information about the program, please contact Horne at 604-218-5592 or drop by at Richmond’s office at 5751 Cedarbridge Way from Tuesday to Saturday.

-> Atira Property Management staff response to The Tyee’s stories on Atira’s SRO’s (Thanks to Atira Dirctors’ staff)

This Atira’s Directors’ statement supports the difficult work that Atira SRO housing staff must do under harrowing circumstances. The statement says, “Over the last 12 months Jen St. Denis, a Tyee Reporter, has written a number of stories about Atira Property Management Inc (APMI) focused on perceived failures of APMI employees including front-line staff, managers, directors and leadership but without ever touching on the material issues. While her intent may be noble and while she and her editors may believe they are making a positive contribution to the discourse around the profoundly complex and seemingly intractable issues that create the Downtown Eastside, we maintain she and The Tyee are in fact causing harm. We have watched our co- workers and tenants beaten down by negativity about their work and housing, develop increased stress and anxiety in anticipation of what will be written next, and when speaking up online to offer a counter story they have experienced racism, sexism and classism, which are always part of any story, but in communities like the DTES especially.”

March 28

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 13th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

This week’s Roundup is about Housing, Health and Childcare, with a special memorial post for Marnie Plant.

-> Now it’s OK to attend and/ or speak in person at City Council meetings and committees! (Thanks to David Yang)

You will recall in last week’s Roundup #12, Richmond City Hall appeared to be setting a confusing precedent – that people would no longer be allowed in person at Council meetings or at Council committee meetings. David Yang (who was refused the right to speak on Mar 14th) will be at City Council tonight Mon Mar 28th. We would encourage you to come to the Council meeting, to support David’s right to speak, to speak yourself, or to just be there. Meetings start at 7.00 pm exactly. You can also view the action at the City’s You Tube channel online. You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed Icon Council Meetings Podcast.

-> Richmond Family Place call for monthly giving (Thanks to Valerie Allen)

There is still time for you to sign up and help Richmond Family Place get a $20 bonus! Monthly giving is one of the most efficient ways to donate. You don’t have to worry about remembering to give every year, and it’s a great way to make a big impact. Plus, for a limited time, we can help increase the impact of your gift. Throughout March, create a new monthly gift of $20 or more in support of our charity through CanadaHelps, and CanadaHelps will make a one-time extra $20 donation to our charity!* You read more about the full terms and conditions here. Please consider creating a new monthly gift of $20 or more through CanadaHelps to support our charity.

-> BC government considering intervention when cities reject affordable housing projects ( Thanks to CBC News and Cory Tymich)

A lack of housing availability and affordability has the province looking into how it can intervene when municipalities refuse to build more homes. Last week, Housing Minister David Eby said there is a “huge amount of pressure” for B.C. to create more housing as migration from other parts of the country is at a 30-year high and vacancy rates are at an all-time low. He said his government is looking at legislation that would allow the province to override municipalities’ decisions not to approve affordable housing projects. B.C. is looking at other countries such as New Zealand, which has banned single-family home zoning in its major cities. “I feel a huge sense of urgency to get as much housing approved and built, especially rental housing as we can,” Eby said. See the article.

FYI, late last year, the RPRC made a submission on the BC Budget 2022 and recommended to the provincial government that they,”mandate that municipal governments prioritize the building of non-market housing until this type of housing stock meets the need of low-income residents, and municipalities provide targets and timelines on how this will be accomplished.” The RPRC is hopeful that our recommendation will be acted on.

-> Councillor Andy Hobbs claims UBCM housing report doesn’t give the whole picture (Thanks to Richmond News)

A Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) report claims housing supply in the province is actually keeping up with population growth – but one city councillor said this report doesn’t reflect decades of slow housing growth. Canada – including B.C. and Richmond – is far behind on building housing, but this problem goes back decades when the federal and provincial governments significantly slowed down construction of rental and affordable housing, said Richmond city Coun. Andy Hobbs.

The short window that UBCM used in its study doesn’t address the fact housing hasn’t kept up with population growth for decades, he added. The report noted housing supply, “as best can be determined based on the data available, has kept pace with population growth in British Columbia over the past five years” and that more housing has been built in B.C. in the past three years “than in any three years in the past 20 years.” More here.

-> Richmond City Council decides to build condos mostly for sale to investors. (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thanks to letter writer John Roston,who says Richmond should look to Burnaby as an example of how to increase affordable rental properties. “In 2018, the B.C. government gave Council the power to zone land for rental-only housing. That increases its value from its current zoning for single-family housing or low-rise commercial.
The alternative chosen by Council is to instead zone it for strata condos. That increases the land value even higher beyond what is profitable for rental housing. From 2018 to 2021, Richmond built 13 % rental and 87 % condos. Shameful! Surrey built 46 % rental, Vancouver 32 %. Of neighbouring cities, only Burnaby built less rental. Burnaby has now turned this around with 10,000 rental units in the pipeline, leaving Richmond at the bottom of the rental housing construction list. Some Richmond investors are choosing to speculate in real estate by buying strata condos creating artificial demand. They have a vote for Richmond council. Potential renters who work in Richmond can’t afford to live here and don’t have a vote.”

-> Priced Out: Some middle-class families losing ground giving the rising living costs (Thanks to Richmond News)

By all accounts, Nancy Li has done everything right. Li (not her real name) worked hard at a full-time job, rarely taking a sick day and working weekends when needed. Her husband’s the same, and together they’ve lived a comfortable middle-class life, putting what they’ve earned into their mortgage and raising two daughters. So she, more than anyone, was more shocked and appalled to find herself standing in a line-up outside the Richmond Food Bank earlier this week. She said it was the first time in her life she has asked for charity, and it wasn’t easy. “Saving face is very important in Asian culture,” Li told a Richmond News reporter, who accompanied her on that dreaded trip to the food bank.

She said she had tried to avoid what she believed to be the humiliation of turning to charity. “However, if I didn’t go, I might end up losing my home. So I don’t care about losing face anymore,” said Li. Li knows that some may say she’s to blame for her situation — that she and her husband don’t work hard enough, they spend beyond their means, or don’t know how to budget. Keep reading.

-> $10-a-day Childcare coming to Richmond! (Thanks to Richmond News)

Three Richmond facilities are offering the government’s $10-a-day childcare program, for a total of 124 child care spots. The spaces are up for grabs at three Richmond facilities, as part of the B.C. government’s $10 a day ChildCareBC program. West Cambie Children’s Centre, Cook Road Children’s Centre and Seasong Child Care Centre will have a total of 124 spaces, with fees capped at a maximum of $200 a month per child. The number of $10 a day spaces has increased across the province from 2,500 when the program began in 2018 to more than 6,500 spaces.

The government claims that the number of $10 a day spaces in the province will double again to 12,500 by this December, with financial help from Ottawa. According to the government, by the end of this year, the “average rate of child care will be reduced by 50 per cent from 2019 levels for children five and younger.” Full story.

-> Translink fares to increase by 2.3 % effective July 1st (Thanks to Daily Hive)

When other large cities in Canada are reducing fares to get people back on transit, BC Trans Link says they need the extra dough right now. So the cost of taking transit will climb again on July 1st. Monthly regular passes will go up between $2.15 and $4.15 / month and concession monthly passes go up $1.30/ month, as well as other fares. Thanks to the provincial ‘All on Board’ campaign, Kids 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. The RPRC and other poverty reduction coalitions continue to advocate for a sliding scale for low-income adults.

-> Historic Federal supply and confidence agreement will bring in dental care for low-income folks (Thanks to CBC News)

​Tooth issues can cause life-threatening conditions, advocates say, as Feds more on dental care. 1% of annual emergency room visits are made by patients with dental care needs. If the Liberal-NDP agreement to create a national dental care program for low-income Canadians becomes a reality in years ahead, advocates and health-care works say it could help prevent dental health issues from spiralling into life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes, and keep more people from resorting to hospital emergency rooms.

-> Storeys Cafe staff and patrons mourn the loss of Marnie Plant (Thanks to Richmond News)

Marnie Plant, the driving force behind Richmond’s Storeys Cafe has passed away, aged 64. Her sister, Brenda Plant, who had been working with her over the years at the café and at the Turning Point Recovery Society, told the Richmond News that much-loved Marnie “never complained, she was always positive and filled with hope. “And I think those are qualities that she tried to instill around people.” Storeys Café, on Anderson Road near Richmond City Hall, has been serving as a hub since 2017, offering job training to those living in the Storeys building, which houses people from the vulnerable community, such as those on a low-income and people battling addictions, mental health issues and abuse.

-> Covid update – People aged 18and up can get free Covid-19 rapid test (Thanks to Richmond News)

People age 18 and over can now get free rapid antigen test kits at B.C. pharmacies. Effective Wednesday (March 23), eligible individuals can pick up one kit of
five tests every 28 days from participating pharmacies at no cost.To pick up a kit, they must present their personal health number. If someone is picking up a kit on their behalf, they must supply the name, personal health number, and date of birth. Test kits should not be picked up when you have symptoms of COVID-19; they should be picked up to use at a future time when you show symptoms of the virus.

March 14

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 11th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

Volunteer Are Stars (Thanks to Richmond Cares Richmond Gives and Sydney Kuo)

RPRC is a member of this long-standing local organization. Sydney says, don’t forget to nominate your awesome individual/group volunteers for a Volunteers Are Stars Award. Nominations are super easy to fill out online, and the deadline is Friday, March 18, so you still have time. This is a very special recognition, and we hope you will use this opportunity to recognize stars on your team 🙂

-> Technology will speed up housing processes (Thanks to Richmond News)

Developers might complain Richmond City Hall is slow to approve new housing projects, but Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie thinks it’s a two-way street. Developers are often equally slow to respond to requests from city staff during the process, he told the Richmond News. But what would help both sides is if senior levels of government funded technology to expedite the process, he added. “We’ll constantly go back and forth whether it’s the development community, the applicants, or the city staff that are holding up the process, but we can make the process itself more efficient and technology will help us do that.”

The RPRC Housing committee has some questions for Council. It seems some projects are approved in short order, while others are held up in City processes. Richmond Centre Mall redevelopment approval by Council (2200 + condos) took all of three weeks, whereas the Brighouse United Church redevelopment proposal (100% rentals – 168 affordable units) has been ‘in process’ for over eight years. And, according to the City’s own Housing Needs report 94 % of all housing starts since 1990 have been condos. Why does it seem that condos are fast tracked while truly affordable rentals are left in the dust? Will technology help the processes become more efficient? And for whom?

-> Notice that big hole in the ground at No 3 and Alderbridge? (Thanks to Richmond News)

The Atmosphere development was supposed to have more than 800 housing units, but its construction has been stalled for a year. The development plan includes an office tower and six residential towers with 824 units of housing, of which 112 will be market rentals and 38 affordable rental units. Note these are condo and rental units City Council counts as ‘approved,’ but that obviously doesn’t mean they are built.

No calls or emails have been returned to a presale buyer of a yet-to-be-built condo at this stalled development in Richmond City Centre. The project’s building permit from the City of Richmond expired last September after six months of inactivity. Simon Zheng is wondering what’s happening with the development where he has purchased an 800-square-foot unit in 2019. Despite trying to contact the developer via his realtor and other phone numbers and emails, he has heard nothing. Read the whole article.

-> Waitlist closed before new Richmond child care centre opens (Thanks to Richmond News)

Seedlings Child Care Centre, operated by the Richmond Society for Community Living (RSCL) will be opening within a few weeks at the new Paramount building adjacent to the Brighouse Canada Line Station. The high level of interest for their upcoming child-care services speaks to the high cost of living in Richmond and the need for two parents to work, explained Shannon Crofton, RSCL chief executive director. What is needed in the city is “reliable childcare that families know they can rely on and trust,” she added. While fees for full-time child care are more than $1,000 per month, they are subsidized by the society. Helping to keep parent fees lower is the fact the City leased the space to RSCL for a nominal $1 a year.

-> NDP Budget isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be (Thanks to The Tyee)
Respected author and journalist Crawford Killian writes, “the NDP’s economic strategy is big on buzzwords. But it falls well short of what the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) demands. The language of the ‘Stronger Together’ economic plan is also orthodox neoliberalism, in which the government presents itself as just another corporation greenwashing its image. The giveaway term is “investing,” as in: “Investing in people and families to make life more affordable.” The article makes for interesting reading, comparing needs for people with needs for the climate crisis.

-> The Fifth Estate “Priced Out” (Thanks to CBC and Deb Turner)

There has been a lot of info recently on CBC about housing. This first one on March 10th deals with the issue across Canada. This next one was on CBC radio on March 11th and is Richmond-specific and has a few sound bites from our own DW. This is the web link and can also be found on the CBC Listen app. And then there’s The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn – March 11, 2022: Priced Out: Latest housing data on Richmond and some of the difficulties people are facing to find housing

-> COVID-19 Update – Rapid Tests for Seniors (Thanks to the BC Seniors Advocate and Susan Johnsen)

COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are now being distributed to people aged 60+ at B.C. pharmacies. Seniors in this age group can pick up 5 tests every 28 days free of charge. Eligible seniors will need to provide their Personal Health Number, full name, and date of birth. Learn more.

-> Masks not mandatory as of Fri Mar 11th (Thanks to Richmond News and Dr. Bonny)

There is no need to wear masks indoors according to Dr. Bonny Henry’s latest directive. This includes in grocery stores and on transit. But from the looks of it, most people are keeping them on for now. You are still required to wear masks in medical settings and care homes, where there may be people who are more vulnerable to infections. Many employers are also asking their staff to continue wearing masks to keep them safe.

March 7

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a time dedicated to reflecting on the incredible contributions that women from all over the world have made. It is an opportunity for us to celebrate women that inspire us, to take the time to acknowledge those who have been driving a more equitable world forward.

This is our 10th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> IWD 2022 with the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre (Thanks to Tammy Belfer)

An RPRC organization member, the RWRC held their annual fundraiser and celebration of IWD 2022 virtually on Saturday March 5th. The RWRC also honoured Marielle Demorest as the recipient of the 2nd annual RWRC/International Women’s Day – Leadership Achievement Award. Congratulations to Marielle, one of the founders of the RWRC and an active advocate for women’s rights in Richmond since 1976!

-> Richmond Family Place programs for March (Thanks to Ruth Taverner)

Ruth reports, as the Provincial Health Orders are relaxed, we are working to navigate how the changes will impact our programming. Some of our partner sites can relax their guidelines and we will be providing programming in libraries and community centres. Please note, we will be continuing to adhere to any City guidelines at partner sites, including proof of vaccine status. Here at Main Site (Ash Street), we remain open for all our drop-in programs. Masks are required for everyone 5-years-old and up. Visit the website for to see all the Family Place programs.

->NOBODY’S PERFECT – A FREE program (Thanks to Family Service of Greater Vancouver)

This program is for parents/grandparents and your child (0 to school age – childminding provided). To register, call 604 279 7100 or email Bilquis Hirani at bhirani@fsgv.ca or richceds@fsgv.ca. Mondays, March 28 – May 2, 2022 from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm at Richmond Caring Place #250-7000 Minoru Blvd. (*Note No class on April 18). See poster attached to this email. At the Nobody’s Perfect program you will:
MEET with other parents of young children
SHARE questions, concerns and ideas about being a parent
LEARN about child development, safety, health and behaviour
DISCUSS real-life parenting situations
DISCOVER positive ways of parenting

-> BC Budget 2022 freezes income assistance and disability rates despite rising inflation (Thanks to The Tyee)

The RPRC has vigorously advocated for increases to income assistance and persons with disabilities (IA and PWD) so incomes could at least come close to poverty line. In response to the RPRC and numerous other poverty reduction advocacy groups, the NDP government has raised assistance rates three times since taking office in 2017.

But despite annual inflation of more than four per cent, last week’s budget didn’t include an increase in the rates. Asked about the decision to freeze the rates, Finance Minister Selina Robinson said the government had provided “the largest increase to disability rates in the history of this province” in 2021. The government had temporarily increased rates by $300 a month earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, then cancelled that and replaced it with a smaller permanent increase of $175 per month.

Total amounts of assistance vary depending on family size and which benefits people qualify for. Read quotes from RPRC allies Homeless Services Association of BC Stephen DeSouza and Raise the Rates Bill Hopwood. Hopwood, a long-time advocate for higher rates living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, said Robinson and other cabinet ministers must be aware that $375 for shelter is too little. “You can’t get a dog kennel for that,” Hopwood said, adding that even for housing providers who want to charge the government’s shelter rate it’s not enough to cover maintenance. “They need to raise the shelter rates to a realistic level. Read the whole article here.

-> Dialogues around Mobility Pricing in Metro Vancouver (Thanks to City staff Melanie Burner)

SFU is hosting a dialogue session around mobility pricing across Metro Vancouver. You must register now to participate in the Mar 9th session. ‘Mobility pricing’ essentially means the user pays to move around. The longer the distance the more you should pay. For instance, in Richmond we pay for two-three zones to get into Vancouver by skytrain. Whereas a rider going a long distance from Burnaby to Vancouver pays for only one zone. Mobility pricing also applies to drivers. Current tax schemes use gas taxes for transit, but EV drivers do not contribute even though they are using the same roads. This dialogue session is to hear your ideas and concerns about this notion that is new to BC but not new around the world.

On March 9th, there is an event for residents from Richmond, South Delta and Tsawwassen. The are currently recruiting participants for the event, and are providing honorariums for individuals who face financial barriers to participation. An honorarium of up to $120 is available to those in need, no questions asked.Up to $60 is also available to reimburse for child/eldercare for the duration of the event. See attached poster ‘Local Dialogues’ for details on how to register and participate.

-> BC COVID-19 pandemic update (Thanks to CEAN Network)

As of March 2, 2022, 90.6% (4,517,602) of eligible people five and older in B.C. have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 86.3% (4,302,285) have received their second dose. Since December 2020, the Province has administered 11,350,297 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer Pediatric COVID-19 vaccines.

-> BC Budget 2022 projects for Richmond (Thanks to MLA Aman Singh)

Richmond Hospital Redevelopment and Acute care tower: People will have better access to health care and reduced surgery wait times through a new, nine-story Acute Care Tower replacement to improve inpatient medical, perioperative, medical imaging, emergency and support services through 113 new beds. Total project cost amounts to $860.8 million, with $790.8 million in provincial capital funding. Expected completion in 2031.

George Massey Tunnel Replacement :A new, toll-free eight-laned immersed tube tunnel will replace the existing George Massey Tunney on Highway 99 will reduce traffic congestion and expand active transportation opportunities across the Fraser River.

February 28

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 9th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Mental Health: You Tube videos highlight living with disabilities (Thanks to RCD and Richmond News)

RPRC member Richmond Centre for Disability (RCD) is sharing their members’ mental-health experiences and even offering suggestions to others on a YouTube channel launched by a local not-for-profit. RCD rolled out a weekly show called “ShareNet,” discussing chronic illnesses and underlying mental health concerns. The video isn’t just limited to helping people understand chronic illnesses but also finding out the positive aspects for people living with disabilities, according to Dave Thomson. RCD peer support and community outreach coordinator.Thompson said ‘RCD didn’t want to create the show just from a doctor’s perspective since the last thing many people living with disabilities want to see is another doctor.’ See story.

-> Richmond looks at intersection traffic light, crash data (Thanks to Richmond News)

The RPRC is ahead of the curve yet again! Our project ‘Improving Pedestrian Safety using Vision Zero Goals’ segues perfectly with the City Richmond’s recent investigation into two trouble-prone intersections. Our project team will be surveying residents who walk, roll and ride and find out what improvements they would recommend to make their travels safer. The City of Richmond’s Transportation department is on board and will share information with us. The RPRC in turn will share our report and recommendations with the City and with funders.

The Richmond News story (link below) states City staff have looked into two intersections, at No. 1 and Francis roads and No. 2 Road and Steveston Highway, after a resident spoke to council about traffic safety concerns at these locations. In a report to council’s public works and transportation committee this week, city staff outlined the number of crashes and how the lights — particularly left turns — work. The Steveston Highway intersection isn’t considered a high priority for improvement, but the Francis Road one is in the top-20 for road safety improvements. More here.

-> BC Budget 2022 (Thanks to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)

With COVID centre stage for the past two years, Budget 2022 marked a shift back to normal. The budget narrative is framed around childcare, climate change and investments in people. Childcare is perhaps the biggest winner with spending increasing from $800 million in 2021/22 to $1.2 billion in 2022/23 and $1.56 billion the year after. Average costs for parents will also drop to about $20 per day, with the government still committed to the goal of $10 per day childcare. These investments are largely due to new federal funding on the table with only a modest bump in BC government funding. (Hat tip to the Coalition of Child Care Advocates who deserve special credit after decades of advocacy.)

-> BC Budget 2022 (Thanks to BC Non-Profit Housing Association — Housing Central)

Housing Central reports the Budget 2022 falls short on urgent need for more funding for affordable housing. “The good news in Budget 2022 is the $633-million expansion of critical supports for people experiencing homelessness,” said Jill Atkey, CEO of BC Non-Profit Housing Association. The added support for youth housing is particularly important; the 2020 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver found 29% of respondents experiencing homelessness first become homeless before they were 19, and 32% had been previously or were at the time of the homeless count in foster care, in a youth group home, or on an Independent Living Agreement.

-> CMHC data says NO Richmond Rentals in last three years (Thanks to Richmond News)

The City of Richmond is disputing rental data put out by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which claimed no rental units were built in Richmond in the last three years. According to city spokesperson Clay Adams, 344 affordable rental units were built and occupied between 2018 and 2021, of which 214 were low-end market rentals (LEMR). A total of 761 affordable units were approved over this time period. On top of that, 568 market rentals were approved between 2018 and 2021, however, none of these have come on the market yet. Adams said many will be ready to be occupied this year.

The RPRC Housing Committee is investigating both claims. Our initial view is when the City talks about ‘approvals’ this is only part of the story. ‘Affordable Unit Approvals’ are on paper, but are not actually built/ occupied. A more realistic measurement may be to look at ‘Housing Starts.’ At least then you know the shovel is in the ground! Something else to ponder: the City’s own report ‘Housing Needs 2021‘ states that over the past thirty years, 94% of housing units have been condos or fee simple. Only 6% have been rental. The City has a lot of catching up to do.

-> City of Richmond Official Community Plan to be reviewed (Thanks to Richmond News)

Housing affordability, social equity, environmental protection and climate mitigation are some of themes being proposed in a review of Richmond’s Official Community Plan (OCP). Richmond city staff are launching a comprehensive review of the OCP that guides planning and development throughout the municipality. The OCP review report states that, instead of a conventional approach, city staff want a “comprehensive rethink of traditional approaches to improve housing affordability.” The report, presented to the City’s Planning committee last week, goes on to say the city is looking for “bold solutions and new tools” to tackle the housing affordability crisis. Good timing Richmond! Read the article.

-> Predatory Lenders to be licenced and regulated – Consumers given more protection (Thanks to BC Acorn)

Thanks to BC Acorn’s Fair Banking campaign, financially vulnerable British Columbians who use high-cost financial services to make ends meet will soon have enhanced protections and access to more education resources. “The pandemic has heightened financial pressures for many British Columbians, and we want to be there to help protect people from predatory lending practices,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This new framework will provide regulatory oversight of the alternative financial services industry – before consumers borrow or sign up for a high-cost credit loan they need to know the risks, so they are able to make an informed decision that is right for them.” Coming into force on May 1, 2022, companies that offer or facilitate high-interest instalment loans and lines of credit above 32% interest, will require annual licensing and regulation by Consumer Protection BC. This is part of 2019 amendments to the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.

->Free Seniors Tax Clinic (Thanks to Richmond Cares Richmond Gives)

The RPRC is a member of RCRG. They are pleased to announce that, beginning in March, they’ll once again be offering a free income tax service for Richmond residents who are low-income and aged 55+. Filing taxes might seem like a chore, but it’s also an important step in accessing government benefits, especially for older adults. Keeping your tax returns up to date ensures you won’t miss out on programs like Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Seniors can sign up for our tax filing service on their own, or have a family member or caregiver do so on their behalf. For more information, contact our front desk at 604-279-7020 or info@rcrg.org.

February 21

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

Happy Family Day! This is our 8th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> COVID-19 Protocols are loosening up (Thanks to New Release – Office of the Premier)

As of Feb 17th, the following changes will take place. Please note events and activities must include a COVID-19 Safety Plan, proof of vaccination and masks. See and post the poster attached, available in 5 languages. If you have any questions please email: vco.stakeholders@gov.bc.ca.

No restrictions on indoor and outdoor personal gatherings

  • Full capacity for indoor and outdoor organized events, indoor events at venues, exercise and fitness, adult sports activities, tournaments and swimming polls
  • Full capacity and fewer restrictions in restaurants, bars, pubs, and nightclubs, no limits on table size, normal liquor service hours, customers don’t have to remain seated, dancing is allowed when wearing a mask indoors

The following restrictions are not changing:

  • Masks required in all indoor public settings, proof of vaccination requirements, business COVID-19 safety plans, restrictions on visitors to long-term care and assisted living facilities, current restrictions on worship services. These will be reviewed on March 15, restrictions on child and youth overnight camps, K to 12 and child care safety guidelines

You can also find the posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

-> Extreme Weather Response (EWR) Shelter is OPEN (Thanks to Sherrie Mogg)

The EWR for homeless folks is open tonight Feb. 21st, and Tues. 22nd, and Wed. 23rd. from 7pm – 7am. It is located at the South Arm pool, just east of the South Arm Community Centre. Mats and food are provided by the Salvation Army-Richmond office.

->Richmond Centre for Disability (Thanks to Ella Huang)

RPRC member Richmond Centre for Disablity has Great News! The Hybrid format is back for some activities, effective March. Hybrid format are activities offered on Zoom and participants have the option of joining in-person at the RCD. Call 604-232-2404 to register. Click here to view RCD In-Person Activities Attendance Protocol. Activity Calendar for March 2022 has been revised and is available on the RCD Website.
Hybrid classes:

  • Social Games Club on Tuesdays 2:30pm-3:30pm
  • Relaxation on Wednesdays 11am-2pm
  • FUN Skills Exercise on Fridays 1pm-2pm

Some In-Person activities are BACK

  • Public Speaking on Thursdays 3pm-4:30pm
  • Mom’s Dance Club on Fridays 9am-10am

-> Food Safe Level 1 course Mar 5th (Thanks to St. Albans and Union Gospel Mission)

Spaces still available! FOODSAFE (Level 1) is a food handling and work safety course for food service workers, such as cooks, servers & dishwashers. The course covers important food safety information including foodborne illness, storing, preparing, serving, cleaning & sanitizing. Instructor: Alvin Cong, Director of Community Development, The Salvation Army Belkin House Date and Time Sat, Mar 5, 2022 from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm at St. Alban’s Church 7260 St. Albans Rd (at Bennett). Please note:

  • Space is limited to 25 people/class
  • Cost is $70 but subsidies are available for students, seniors, others
  • Food Safe certificates are valid for 5 years
  • Coffee & tea provided – please bring a lunch, or find one at a nearby café
  • Questions: Karen (kgiesbrecht@ugm.ca)

-> Richmond parent calls for a National School Lunch program (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thanks to Richmond parent Chaslynn Gillanders, who is appealing to Richmond city council and the Board of education to push for a national school lunch program. ‘Not only is it hard for kids to learn and succeed when they’re hungry, it’s stigmatizing to be part of a program set up for students in need,’ she said, adding, ‘having a program for school lunches for all students would take away from the stigma.’ Because of the high cost of living in Richmond and elsewhere, families are putting a lot of their money just into shelter and transportation, leaving less for food. Several non-profits in Canada have called for a national school food program, saying Canada is the only G7 country that doesn’t have one. Some point out Canada has a “patchwork” system of providing school lunches. More here.

-> Rents cannot be increased more than 1.5 % in 2022 (Thanks to Richmond News)

Here is a stark reminder that landlords sometimes increase rents more than is allowed under the law. Take heed renters! If you think you have been unfairly treated you have the right to dispute a rent increase or other rent issue, and can apply online for dispute resolution.

The story: A Richmond renter claims his landlord tried raising his rent more than is legally allowed and now is threatening to evict him and his family. The renter was told by his landlord his rent would increase by $400, from $2,100 to $2,500 on March 1st. This was after the rent was already increased by $100 on Jan. 1st. The provincial government has set 2022 rental increases at 1.5 %, which would mean the unit’s $2,000 rent on Jan. 1st should have increased by $30, not $500! Read the whole article.

-> Racist and homophobic attack caught on video in Broadmoor Mall (Thanks to Richmond News)

The RPRC recently completed an anti racism anti-discrimination project where we reported ‘those who participated, saw sexual orientation as a non-issue.’ However, this Richmond News report shows us there is still more work to be done. ‘Two young Richmond women were left shaken and crying after being on the wrong end of a shameful racist and homophobic road rage rant.The couple – who don’t want to be identified for fear of reprisals – were subjected by another young woman to a couple of minutes of threats and disgusting verbal abuse in a shopping centre parking lot Thursday evening.’

-> Richmond Arts Coalition Richmond Arts Awards (Thanks to Andrew Wade)

The RPRC is a member of the Richmond Arts Coalition (RAC). Every year the RAC teams up with the City of Richmond to produce the Richmond Arts Awards, honouring and celebrating local individuals and organizations in the arts community. Those being nominated could be volunteers, businesses, cultural leaders, educators, youth, chefs, or more. The deadline for sending in nominations is March 7th, and they are looking for more nominations! The event cannot happen without you. If you know of anyone who deserves a nomination, visit the website.

-> The Richmond Arts Coalition (RAC) “Let’s Celebrate Together!” (Thanks to Richmond News and Andrew Wade)

The RAC has launched part two of its “Let’s Celebrate Together” show to celebrate the various art forms in the city. RAC, a volunteer-led organization in Richmond, recorded and published the first part of its “Let’s Celebrate Together” show on YouTube in January. The second part of the show was recorded at the Steveston Martial Arts Centre and features local artists Tanaz Roudgar, Marc Rivest, Cora Kiesman, Hannah Black and Jiliang Yao. See the video.

-> Applications Open for 2022 Ethel Tibbits Scholarship (thanks to Richmond Cares Richmond Gives)

The Richmond Community Foundation is accepting applications for this year’s Ethel Tibbits Scholarship, which is awarded annually to Richmond women who are seeking to further their education and broaden their career opportunities, so they can better support their families. Note this is NOT a scholarship for high school students. Originally established by the Richmond Review, the scholarship honours the life and legacy of Ethel Tibbits, a pioneering newspaper editor and owner, and a passionate advocate for women’s rights.

Applicants must have lived in Richmond for at least one year, and demonstrate financial need. They can be entering a training program, or attending classes to upgrade their skills or credentials. The $750 scholarship can help cover tuition fees and course materials. You can apply via an online application also available on the RCF website. The final day for submissions is April 8.

February 14

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

Happy Valentine’s Day! This is our 7th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Family Services of Greater Vancouver – Richmond office (Thanks to Biquis Hirani)

FSGV Nobody’s Perfect Virtual program starts on Monday February 14th. There is still time to join! It is a free program for parents and grandparents of children ages 0 to school age. To register call 604.279.7100 or email bhirani@fsgv.ca. See attached poster.

-> Black History Month Activities continue (Thanks to Richmond Public Library and Kelly Thoreson)

Each One, Teach One Book Club: On Thursday, February 24, 10:30am-12pm via Zoom (register) marks the launch of a new book club focusing on Black Canadian authors. For February, we will be reading the historical adventure Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. Copies are available to borrow from the library.

-RPRC completes Anti-Racism project (Thanks to Ella, Stephanie, Jessica, Angela, and Theresa!)

The RPRC members submitted their final report concerning their thoughts on anti-racism/ anti-discrimination data collection. This mini project engaged numerous low-income Richmond residents through conversation circles. It was funded in full by the ministry of Attorney General. Special thanks to Richmond Centre for Disability for co-leading the project with the RPRC leadership.

->Feb 22nd Public Hearing on Rental-Only Zoning (Thanks to Richmond News)
The public is invited to comment on rezoning 60 Richmond properties are rental-only at a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 7.00 pm. The properties are already rentals, and city staff told city council that putting the zoning in place would be a stronger tool than just the current policy to keep them rental that’s in the Official Community Plan (OCP). At a city council meeting in January, the zoning changes were supported unanimously.

There was considerable opposition from several developers, The bylaw closes a loophole that has allowed rental properties to be converted into strata condos. This was possible if a property owner built the same-sized building, which doesn’t require a rezoning application, and then stratified the units and sold them as condos. Read the whole article.

-> 2021 Child Poverty Report Card Webinar Feb 23rd at 9.30 am (Thanks to First Call Child & Youth Advocacy Society)

Please join First Call for a deeper look at their 2021 BC Child Poverty Report Card and what we can learn about child and family poverty across the province. Led by the report’s co-author and First Call’s Executive Director, Adrienne Montani, this webinar will explore provincial and regional data, stories illustrating the impact of family poverty, and recommendations to all three levels of government on how to reduce child poverty. February 23, 2022 | 9:30am -11:00am Via Zoom. Please RSVP to info@firstcallbc.org and we will send you the Zoom link.

-> Brain injury endemic among homeless population – Vancouver research (Thanks to CTV News and Cory Tymich with RCFC)

Traumatic brain injury is so common among the homeless that prevention should be prioritized for people facing multiple challenges and worse outcomes compared with “affluent populations,” says Tiffany O’Connor. This points out the need for health-care professionals and service providers to have standardized training to screen for symptoms of even mild injury involving people often struggling with challenges like mental illness and cognitive impairment.

Vancouver Coastal Health supports for children receiving COVID-19 vaccine ( Thanks to CEAN newsletter)

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) COVID-19 vaccination clinics are offering dedicated supports to children five to 11 years of age. When parents book their child’s appointment through the Get Vaccinated system, they can choose from a number of options based on their child’s specific care needs. VCH began children’s clinics in December 2021 and these additional supports will ensure children, parents and guardians have a child-centred experience while getting vaccinated. Here is some additional information.

-> BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner Survey into Hate (Thanks to Lynne Fader of the Kehila Society)

Take the Survey! More than 1 in 4 British Columbians have witnessed hate incidents during the pandemic — including 50% of youth aged 18-24. If you have experienced or witnessed a hate incident during the pandemic, you can take a stand against hate by sharing your experiences in a survey on the rise in hate during the pandemic. Learn more about the Office of the Human Rights Commission and the hate inquiry here.

February 7

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 6th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.
If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> The Right to Housing (Thanks to The Homeless Hub

In 2019, the Government of Canada passed its first right to adequate housing legislation, entitled the National Housing Strategy Act (NHSA). It invokes Canada’s commitment to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. This link is a paper commissioned by the National Housing Council to review relevant research on the right to adequate housing, with particular attention paid to implementation and avenues to progressively realize this right within the Canadian context.

-> More Housing Letters! “Richmond condos not built for us” (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thanks to Mary Phillips for another letter to the Richmond News about housing, in response to a letter last week. Keep those letters coming in! It reads in part: “I do not think anyone is saying individuals should not buy a condo and rent it out, especially if the rent is reasonable for the average income earner. Unfortunately, as housing prices are inflated in Richmond, so are rents. The workers in the service industries such as retail and hospitality in Richmond cannot afford the rents so they have to commute from Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Langley or Coquitlam.”

-> NewToBC invites you to Community Dialogues Emergence, Adaptation and Resilience (Thanks to Kelly Thoreson Richmond Public Library)

Accessing and delivering services in a changing environment. Join libraries, newcomers and settlement & service providers in your community to explore issues related to newcomers and service provision in an ongoing COVID context. Each session is two hours long with an additional 30 minutes for networking after the session. In Richmond the session is on March 10th 1.30- 3.30 pm. To register, see poster attached to this email.

-> BC Seniors Guide now available in Tagalog and Hindi (Thanks to George Pope)

“The BC Seniors’ Guide is a valuable resource as it links older adults to information they need to help make important decisions as they age,” said Mable Elmore,
Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services & Long-Term Care.“That is why in July we translated the guide into six languages, and now, we are adding translations in
Tagalog and Hindi for the approximately 15,270 B.C. seniors who speak these languages.” To access the BC Seniors’ Guide in all nine languages, visit the website. To order free print copies, call (toll-free): 1 877 952-3181 Or in Greater Victoria: 250 952-3181

-> COVID Info (Thanks to Community Engagement Network – CEAN)

As of Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, 89.9% (4,481,509) of eligible people five and older in B.C. have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 84% (4,187,417) have received their second dose. Since December 2020, the Province has administered 10,779,487 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer Pediatric COVID-19 vaccines. Click here to see the full update.

-> Ukelele Lending Library! (Thanks to Richmond News and the Richmond Public Library)

Richmond Public Library (RPL) has launched its ukulele collection in memory of local community member Linda Perron. Perron was well-known in Richmond for her dedication to family and friends as well as her volunteerism and passion for music-making grassroots, according to RPL. Library cardholders can rent ukuleles for free
from the Linda Perron Ukulele Lending Library Collection, starting Feb. 2, which coincides with World Play Your Ukulele Day.

January 31

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 5th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.
If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

February is Black History Month (Thanks to Richmond Public Library)

Join the Richmond Public Library for a number of virtual Black History Month events including a presentation on Eleanor Collins, Canada’s first lady of Jazz and the launch of a new book club focusing on Black Canadian authors. For a complete list and to register please visit the website.

->RPRC completes Anti-racism project (Thanks to Project leaders Ella, Theresa, Angela, Jessica, and Stephanie!)

The RPRC is pleased to report we completed a project funded by the ministry of Attorney General. We conducted four conversation circles with members and/ or clients of the RPRC membership and allies, asking them about the BC government’s interest in collecting and using race-based data. The government’s aim is to remove biases from government programs, services, policies, and processes. The outcome of this BC wide community engagement will be the government drafting legislation to ensure an anti-racism/ anti-discrimination ‘lens’ is applied to everything they do. Stay tuned for our final report!

-> Housing Minister Eby’s wrong turn on housing (Thanks to The Tyee)

Interesting article by Patrick Condon (noted UBC professor, urban planner) about supply versus the ‘right’ supply. “BC’s Housing Minister David Eby has experienced a remarkable conversion in his approach to the housing crisis. Two years ago, in his ongoing role as attorney general, he was very much on the side of those who blamed excess “demand” for rapidly elevating B.C. home prices, particularly the illicit demand generated by money launderers.”

-> Reader comes to the defence of developers (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thanks to Julie Halfnights who wrote into the News saying Cllr. Carol Day’s letter last week on the Polygon Talisman development was erroneous. “First, (her letter) assumes that buyers of the project are all speculators who will leave that residence empty. Apart from those who buy to live in it, there will be buyers who rent out the suites they purchase, thus increasing rental stocks. The second issue is the assumption that investors are the enemy of the people or renters.” We hope Ms. Halfnights is right and all the 1,341 condos will be tenanted by owners or by renters who can afford them. Time will tell, let’s check back in five years. Read the full story.

->Youth Housing grant opportunity (Thanks to Homeless Hub and City staff Val Watson)

Homeless Hub announces an open call for proposals for “Making the Shift.” They are seeking proposals from researchers and community organizations for one-time grants in one of seven research streams. These streams aim to fill crucial evidence gaps in the types of policies and service enhancements we need to prevent youth homelessness in Canada Application deadline is Feb 28th at 5.00 pm EST. Apply now.

Richmond community builder releases new book to discuss family story (Thanks to Richmond News)

RPRC members will recall Alan Hill’s time as the coordinator for the RPRC’s ‘Art for Social Change’ RASC project. Under Alan’s leadership, our project members wrote and performed poetry, skits, plays, songs, and spoken word for their public forums on housing, homelessness, food security, transportation, and belonging. Alan is now continuing his community engagement work with Richmond Multicultural Community Society (RMCS). And in addition, he recently launched a new book, titled “In the Blood: Poems” featuring all his poetry over the past 15 years, and said poetry helps him find a way to release his feelings and heal. His book is available through Chapters Indigo. Learn more about Alan’s story here.

-> Let’s Ride BC petition for public transportation Canada-wide (Thanks to Eric Doherty)

The RPRC signed onto the Let’s Ride Open Letter along with another 20 organizations. Let’s Ride reports, ‘We’re well on our way to getting this important issue heard in the House of Commons! All we need are more signatures to let the Federal Government know we want them to start building an affordable, sustainable, safe, public national bus network NOW! Please share this and sign the petition, which is organized by Let’s Ride: Public Transit BC Wide and sponsored by Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach. #connectCanada

-> Uber drivers get union representation in Canada (Thanks to Richmond News)

The RPRC applauds Uber ‘Gig’ workers for their win! A few months after Uber drivers in Richmond filed a labour relations complaint, their head office in Canada has reached an agreement with a union which will provide representation to the app’s drivers and couriers. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada, says the agreement is “a huge step forward in gig worker rights,” and will advance worker safety, pay transparency and access to benefits.

“For too long, gig work has been a race to the bottom for these workers, who have endured lower wages, unsafe working conditions, and arbitrary firings,” said UFCW president Kim Novak, in a statement. “Today’s agreement means that we can set a new, higher standard for worker rights in the app-based work world.” See the article.

Week of January 24

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 4th Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.
If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Online Forum for Non-profit Executive Directors (Thanks to Cory Tymich)

FYI, All, the January meeting of RPRC members included a discussion on struggles of non-profits (pivoting during Covid, keeping up with programs, not being funded or valued in comparison with businesses – gyms, etc). Cory thought it would be a good idea to share the opportunity of Vantage Point’s monthly ED Unplugged. It is a free meeting for ED of non-profits across the country to connect and share. Sessions include a non-profit leader’s presentation and interesting discussion and networking. Register online for the series of monthly meetings.

-> RPRC advocates for Extended Rent Freeze

The RPRC membership in January agreed to advocate to the provincial government to extend the BC government rent freeze until the pandemic is over. Many low-income tenants have had relief from rising rents since the province enacted the rent freeze at the beginning of the pandemic. The deadline was up Jan 1, 2022 but landlords cannot enact an increase until April 2022. Stay tuned!

-> RPRC Campaign for Affordable Rental Housing!

At our Jan 2022 meeting, RPRC members endorsed a recommendation from the RPRC Housing Committee to engage in a campaign advocating for truly affordable, accessible and adequate housing for the 20% of our residents living in poverty and struggling to find rental housing. If you would like to join the campaign, please email info@richmondprc.org for more information.

-> Even more Market Condos coming to Richmond (Thank you Richmond News)

The rezoning public hearing for the Polygon Talisman development (Cambie at Garden City) resulted in approval with three Councillors opposed (Cllr’s Au, Wolfe, and Day). The development will have 1,341 condo units. Only 171 of these will be market rental units and 156 will be low-end market rental (LEMR) units.

This is in the face of the City’s own Housing Needs report 2021 that states the dire need is for non-market housing. Non-market rentals are needed for Richmond residents on low incomes, such as seniors, single parents, people with disabilities, newcomers, and people on government assistance. To the RPRC, it appears City Council accepts staff reports then ignores them. Read the article.

-> More Letters to the Editor Richmond News on Rental Housing! (Thank you Richmond News)

Keep those letters coming in! Thanks to Cllr Carol Day for her letter telling us why she voted to oppose the Polygon Talisman rezoning. She says, ‘The 2021 Housing Needs report states, Richmond had 26 per cent renter households in 2016 and is slowly approaching Metro Vancouver’s distribution of 36 per cent (page 8 of the report).”

“This Talisman project could have been a rental hub working with groups like the Canadian Pension Plan who have a history of investing in long-term, multi-family projects.We have a housing crisis and we need bold new steps to address the issue.” More here.

Steveston resident Michelle Li also spoke at the public hearing and sent in a letter to the Richmond News. Li said, in reply to a previous speaker, ‘not everyone can afford to buy a condo for their children and it just emphasized the need for more rental housing to address the current housing crisis. No one should have to struggle in their life so they can make sure their children can live in the same city. As a teacher, she said she sees many families struggling to find housing in Richmond, in situations that are truly heartbreaking. Housing is not a commodity, housing is a human right.’

-> FREE Soccer program – partnership with Richmond Food Bank and COHO Richmond (Thanks to Richard Harvey)

Richmond FC is excited to launch the COHO Soccer Program this upcoming weekend. This program, in partnership with the Richmond Food Bank and Coho Commissary, will provide free soccer and a hot meal to low income families in Richmond. The program is open to current players and their families who may already receive support from the Richmond Food Bank, Richmond Kidsport, Canadian Tire Jumpstart or Athletics4Kids.

The COHO soccer program is scheduled to run Sundays, January 23-February 27 (and Free March spring break camp, March 14-18). Sundays 11am-12:00pm at Boyd and Whiteside. Ages U5-U16 (2017-2006) are welcome to join and players will be divided up by age.

Included in the free registration are: Uniforms. (jersey, shorts, socks), soccer games, coaching, COHO Commissary free meal at the field for families and players after the session each Sunday. Players will need to have their own appropriate footwear – this could be soccer cleats or good tread running shoes. Contact admin@richmondfc.ca for more information. All inquiries are confidential. Visit the website to register.

-> Let’s Ride petition for Public Transportation (Thanks to Eric Doherty)

Let’s Ride is a BC based campaign to encourage public transportation across Canada. The petition will be read in the House of Commons in March. Please sign and forward. They need as many signatures as possible!

Week of January 17

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 3rd Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.
If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Family Services of Greater Vancouver- Richmond office (Thanks to Valerie Allen)

Family Services is currently hiring for several new positions, including Counsellor. Richmond Counselling Program. Visit our Careers page to learn more and apply today!

-> The Kehila Society of Richmond (Thanks to Lynne Fader)

The Bayit in partnership with The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Kehila Society of Richmond and Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver wish to formally invite you to the 3rd annual proclamation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the City of Richmond, BC on Thursday January 27th at 7.00 pm.

Please join us (virtually) as we welcome his Worship Mayor Malcolm Brodie as he proclaims January 27th, Holocaust Remembrance Day in the city of Richmond.
Featuring Miriam Dattel, Holocaust Survivor Speaker, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. To attend this virtual event please contact Lynne Fader at lfader@kehilasociety.org or rabbi@thebayit.ca to register.

-> Polygon rezoning going to Public Hearing on Jan 17th 7 pm (Thanks to Richmond News)

The public is invited to comment on a 1,300 unit development proposal in the Capstan Station area. The properties require rezoning in order to proceed with redevelopment. The development proposal would include condos with some market rentals and some LEMR (low end market rental) units. But it would not contain any truly affordable units. According to City Staff, building truly affordable, accessible, and adequate housing would require the funding assistance of both provincial and federal governments.

This rezoning proposal also includes the last urban forest in the area and a large farmed field. The public can speak at the public hearing at 7.00 pm on Monday January 17th in Council Chambers and/or they can send in a letter to cityclerk@richmond.ca. The story is posted here.

The Kehila Society of Richmond (Thanks to Lynne Fader and Courtney Cohen)

Hello everyone, it’s that time of year again for us to start preparing for our annual Roses Angels Project. Please find attached to the Weekly Roundup, a letter of information on how you can assist and participate in this amazing program. Any questions please just give us a call at 604 241 9270.

-> Covid 19 News (Thanks to The Sun newspaper)

The BC Health-care system is under tremendous strain due to staffing shortages, Nurses have been saying this for years, but now with Covid the problem is only worse. Nurses are burning out, working 18 hour days, getting sick themselves. But is there light at the end of the tunnel? B.C. modelling shows virus transmission is trending down. Read the article.

-> Another barrier smashed – Gender X accepted on BC ID cards (Thanks to Richmond News)

The BC government has announced that medical confirmation is no longer required to change gender on ID cards. The change allows two-spirit, transgender and gender-diverse BBC residents to self-declare their gender identity on ID documents. The RPRC agrees this has been an equity issue for some time. Having no access to a doctor, or having to pay for a confirmation letter, created barriers for people who wanted to change their gender identity on IDs. Learn more.

-> Let’s Ride! Make Public Transit BC Wide (Thanks to Eric Doherty)

Correction to this post. The petition will be presented in the House of Commons in March 2022. In any case we are sending this out again in the hopes readers will sign and forward the petition, which will be raised in the House of Commons, to all their friends, clubs, and organizations they belong to. The RPRC supports the need for public transit that is inexpensive and connects us to all the services we need. Let’s Ride is a BC volunteer initiative that states, “Public transit advocates across the country are pushing for a National Transit System that would connect all our communities. The more signatures we get, the better!”

Week of January 10

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 2nd Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.
If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org<mailto:info@richmondprc.org> and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> RPRC 2022 memberships are due (Thanks to Deb Turner)

RPRC Membership Director Deb Turner is reminding members to renew for 2022, as our memberships run from Jan-Dec each year. Memberships are only $5 for an individual or $25 for an organization. If any reader would like to join, please go to www.richmondprc.org/contact for the form.

-> Richmond Centre for Disability (Thanks to Ella Huang)

The RCD is back to normal opening hours in the new year – Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Accessing Parking Permit service is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The RCD has made some changes to the activities starting in January 2022 and may impact the coming 2 months. Stay tuned for more updates!

  1. English Classes, Job Club, Mom Language Club, Life Skill classes are switched to Zoom platform. Start dates and schedules remains the same.
  2. All hybrid activities would keep the Zoom format only and cancel the in-person component.
  3. Other in-person activities will have the start date postponed for 2 weeks, starting the week of Feb 7, including Creative Arts, iPad, MS Word, Public Speaking, Table Tennis, Mom’s Dance. If restrictions persist, in-person activities may be canceled. All Zoom activities remain unchanged.

Activity Calendars for 2022 January Term have been revised and are available on the RCD Website. We are accepting registration for the Zoom activities starting in January.

-> Students return to school Jan 10th (Thanks to Richmond News)

Richmond students will be returning to in-class learning on Monday, after the province pushed the start date back amid concerns over the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Sandra Nixon, chair of the Richmond Board of Education, said the delayed restart gave district staff time to develop safety plans and protocols, including continuity of learning plans in case of a health-related or functional school closure. In this piece, she said the goal is to minimize disruption and offer support and stability to students as safely as possible.

-> Richmond’s most expensive property valued at $13 Mill (Thanks to Richmond News)

This property on No. 2 Road between Steveston Hwy and Moncton, was valued at ‘only’ $8 Mill in 2020. The increase rang the alarm bells for Richmond-based FarmWatch, which cautioned that, one by one, farms were being taken out of production and that such mansions, despite being built on farmland, were clearly not being built for farming. Check out the full story.

-> Housing Report by Paul Kershaw and Generation Squeeze (Thanks to The Tyee)

‘Generation Squeeze’ received funding from the National Housing Strategy’s Solutions Labs Program, via the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)*, to take action on one of three pillars in our comprehensive housing solutions framework — the need to break our country’s Addiction to High and Rising Home Values. Read more of the article, and download the full report.

-> 143 pedestrians killed in Metro Vancouver in five years (Thanks to Vancouver Sun )

Across the Lower Mainland, drivers injure or kill over 1,500 pedestrians a year in vehicle collisions. Academics and road safety experts say these aren’t tragic accidents — they’re entirely preventable. And the strategies to reduce or eliminate them are well-understood and often affordable. At the intersection of No. 3 Road and Granville, 16 pedestrians were killed in the last five years. Learn more.

-> Let’s Ride! Make Public Transit BC Wide (Thanks to Eric Doherty)

We are sending this out again in the hopes readers will sign and forward the petition to all their friends, clubs, and organizations they belong to. The RPRC supports the need for public transit that is inexpensive and connects us to all the services we need. Let’s Ride is a BC volunteer initiative that states, “Public transit advocates across the country are pushing for a National Transit System that would connect all our communities. Please sign this petition that will be raised in the House of Commons this month! The more signatures we get, the better!”

Week of January 3

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

Directors and staff of the RPRC wish you all a Happy New Year! Let’s hope it is better than 2021. This is our 1st Weekly Roundup for 2022, with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government.

If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org and we will endeavour to spread the word amongst our members and associates.

Thanks to the Richmond News for providing great coverage and a continuing source of stories about the overall housing picture in Richmond!

-> Richmond Family Place (Thanks to Ruth Taverner)
Happy New Year! We wanted you to know that, in addition to our ongoing Play & Learn programs at Hamilton Community Centre on Monday and Thursday mornings from 10.00 am-12 noon, our new programs include:

  • Thursday 4.30-6.30 pm Play & Learn Drop-In at City Centre Community Centre
  • Friday 1.00-2.30 pm Sing & Play at Steveston Community Centre

As with all our partnership programs, we will be following the facilities’ COVID-19 protocols, which include pre-registration and proof of COVID vaccinations. You can find all the details below in our calendar. If you need any support to get registered or to get vaccinated, please contact us at 604-278-4336 or email fsw@richmondfamilyplace.ca.

-> More housing stories (Thanks to Richmond News)

Average single-family home prices in Richmond are almost at $2 million. City staff noted in their 2021 Housing Needs report that 95 per cent of Richmond residents couldn’t afford to buy a home in the city if they didn’t already have one. And 90 per cent couldn’t afford a townhouse in Richmond – the average townhouse price crept up almost $30,000 in the last quarter as well. The RPRC questions, what are people who want to work, live, and play in Richmond supposed to do? The full article is here.

-> BC’s rent freeze expires Jan 1, 2022 (Thanks to Richmond News)

The province enacted the rent freeze at the beginning of the pandemic to support British Columbians who were struggling financially. As of Jan. 1, 2022, B.C. landlords may increase rent by a maximum of 1.5 per cent, based on inflation, explains a news release. This increase cannot take effect prior to Jan. 1, 2022. If landlords choose to increase rent, they must provide a full three months’ notice to tenants using the correct notice of rent increase form. Maybe there is time for the RPRC to advocate to the government to extend the rent freeze? See more.

-> City of Richmond Rental-Only Zoning (Thanks to Richmond News)

The City of Richmond has identified 60 properties for possible rental-only zoning, prompting criticism from developers and business, saying rezoning would devalue the properties by 30%. Provincial rule changes allow municipalities to rezone properties as only allowing rentals, and those listed by city staff are currently 100 per cent rentals, some privately owned, others owned by BC Housing or Metro Vancouver. There are also 17 housing co-operatives included on this list. Read the story.

-> BC delays return to school for K-12 students (Thanks to Richmond News)

There will be a phased approach to the start of B.C. schools in the new year. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside joined provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a press briefing Wednesday (Dec. 29) afternoon for the announcement of a phased restart for K-12 schools in B.C. over the coming weeks. For children of essential workers and those with special needs, all schools will open on either Jan. 3 or 4. There will be a full return to classes for all students on Jan. 10.

-> BC Government – Ministry of Health – Vaccines for children 5-11 years

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children. Refer to the addendum to the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines.

-> Accessibility and the BC Building Code (Thanks to VCH newsletter)

The Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing and the Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility are working to update the BC Building Code to make new buildings more accessible. The first step invites the public, including people with disabilities, accessibility experts and advocates, code users, Treaty Nations, Indigenous partners, local governments, building owners, construction industry representatives, professional associations, and education partners to provide feedback about barriers and priorities to enhance accessibility requirements in new buildings.

Please see the Backgrounder (PDF) document for more information about this project and provide feedback through our online survey. Feedback will be accepted until 4pm on January 13, 2022.

-> It’s the Law – Five paid sick days per year in BC!

Paid sick leave will be standard for workers in British Columbia beginning Jan. 1, 2022, with a minimum of five paid sick days each year. B.C. becomes the first province in Canada to legislate this level of paid time off for workers who fall ill.

-> When you don’t need the Emergency Room – Urgent and Primary Care Centres (Thanks to VCH newsletter)

Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCC) are for people with same-day, non-life-threatening injuries, and illnesses when you are unable to see a family doctor or health care provider. The Richmond UPCC is at 7671 Alderbridge Way, 3rd floor. Call 604.675.2768.

-> Let’s Ride! Make Public Transit BC Wide (Thanks to Eric Doherty)

The RPRC supports the need for public transit that is inexpensive and connects us to all the services we need. Let’s Ride is a BC volunteer initiative that states, “Public transit advocates across the country are pushing for a National Transit System that would connect all our communities. Please sign this petition that will be raised in the House of Commons. The more signatures we get, the better! Thanks for your continued support and Happy New Year!”

-> ACORN and Raise The Rates

ACORN Canada is an independent organization of low- and moderate-income people with 140,000 members in 20+ neighbourhood chapters across nine cities. BC ACORN has a letter-writing campaign on the go to ask the BC government to:

  • Raise income assistance rates to $1,700/ month and persons with disabilities to $2,000/ month, both indexed to inflation
  • End clawbacks on IA and PWD cheques,
  • End discriminatory policies that prevent people from getting married or holding jobs, and
  • Engage in a full review of the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act.

Please send an email to demand the BC NDP Raise the Rates.

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