Thrive has been in the mak­ing for four years

Medicine Hat News - - UP FRONT -

A drive to end poverty in Medicine Hat by co-or­di­nat­ing ac­tions of an ar­ray of com­mu­nity, busi­ness, gov­ern­ment and so­cial ser­vice groups is re­sult of 500 lo­cal in­ter­views and builds off work be­gan four years ago.

“Thrive” was un­veiled to Hat­ters on Wed­nes­day, with a new re­port show­ing a wide ar­ray of tar­gets to cre­ate greater well be­ing through­out the com­mu­nity.

“It’s very com­pre­hen­sive and builds off what we do well al­ready,” said Jaime Rogers, a man­ager with the city’s Com­mu­nity Hous­ing So­ci­ety.

The re­port ac­tu­ally draws roots back to a lo­cal “com­mu­nity roundtable” on end­ing poverty. That 2013 re­port was ti­tled “Re­duc­ing the cost of Poverty in Medicine Hat: Mov­ing from Char­ity to In­vest­ment,” and helped spur the lo­cal ini­tia­tive to end home­less­ness.

The up­date gath­ered in­put from 500 in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing donors, lo­cal in­take work­ers, so­cial ser­vice agency heads and other in­di­vid­u­als, half of whom had ex­pe­ri­enced poverty.

“Peo­ple who had lived the ex­pe­ri­ence were cru­cial voices in this re­port,” said the study’s au­thor, Alina Turner.

The re­port was paid for with a grant through the city’s Fam­ily and Com­mu­nity Sup­port Ser­vices pro­gram. Medicine Hat Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment, the Com­mu­nity Hous­ing So­ci­ety and food bank were early ad­vo­cates, along with nu­mer­ous other agen­cies and lo­cal groups.

Wed­nes­day’s lunch-hour dis­cus­sion was at­tended by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of lo­cal school boards, Al­berta Health, the Miy­wasin Cen­tre, Medicine Hat pub­lic li­brary, food bank, po­lice, and women’s shel­ter.

Lo­cal branches of the Red Cross, Sal­va­tion Army, Kins­men Club, McMan Com­mu­nity Ser­vices, Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion were also rep­re­sented.

An evening gath­er­ing was also sched­uled to in­volve phi­lantropists, se­nior of­fi­cials with agen­cies and busi­ness groups through­out the city.

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