Budget 2021: Investments by BC Government in Affordability and Youth Mental Health Resources Are Essential

Vancouver, BC, April 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Inequity among families is a reality for British Columbians. As the social service sector supports individuals and families in crisis, the Province’s investments in affordability, mental health resources, and equitable access to justice are not just welcome – they are essential. These investments will directly allow Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV) to continue to deliver crucial programs and services across the Lower Mainland, addressing the needs of our communities’ most vulnerable neighbours.

While none of us have been immune to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this crisis has been exceedingly difficult for families and individuals in crisis. This past year has shone a light on the inequities faced by low-income earners – women and newcomers included – many of whom are connected to FSGV.

As the provincial government announced in its release of the 2021 budget, upcoming investments will look to address inequity as an important step towards providing all British Columbians and their families a fair chance at health, safety and stability. This is exactly the essential work that FSGV – one of the province’s largest social services agencies – does, year in and year out. At every life stage, FSGV’s clients look to the organization’s expert staff for the support, hope and tools needed to overcome their circumstances – no matter where they are starting from.

The new and renewed investments made by the Province are essential as it partners with the social service sector to support British Columbians as they recover from the financial and emotional impacts of COVID-19, and as they look to thrive in and contribute to their communities.

Over the next three years, the Province’s people-first commitments will allow the clients and communities served by FSGV to look beyond COVID-19, knowing that much-needed support will be there when they need it. FSGV applauds the Province for:

The advances in affordability for low- and middle-income individuals and families, including:

  • Committing to the goal of further decreasing child poverty rates in our province;
  • Doubling the number of $10/day childcare spaces, as well as providing additional supports for programs that support children with a disability or medical needs;
  • Continuing to provide the Child Opportunity Benefit, and BC Recovery Benefit with considerations for families with children;
  • Creating more affordable housing options for growing families, seniors, women and children leaving violence, students and Indigenous peoples; and
  • Permanently increasing both monthly Income and Disability Assistance allowances.

Acknowledging the need for increased mental health supports for youth by:

  • Making the largest investment in B.C. history to expand mental health and addictions services;
  • Investing in accessible, personalized, community-based and virtual support with the expansion of Foundry; and
  • Improving mental health supports in schools, and looking to address racism and reconciliation.

Committing to new and renewed investments in the justice system by:

  • Continuing to support the continuum of victim services and violence against women programs, including FSGV’s police department-embedded, community-based Domestic Violence Units; and
  • Providing timely and equitable access to justice for vulnerable British Columbians, including women, visible minorities, single parents, refugees, Indigenous peoples, 2SLGBTQ+ community members and people with low incomes.

These investments will directly allow FSGV to continue to deliver crucial programs and services across the Lower Mainland, addressing the needs of our communities’ most vulnerable neighbours. From Directions Youth Services, serving youth experiencing homelessness or who have aged out of care, to Specialized Family Supports, providing urgent parenting support, and Trauma and Victim Services, working with survivors of abuse, violence and other offences, FSGV proudly cares for British Columbians in complex crisis.

Together, there is still much work to do. The Province, in partnership with the non-profit sector that it clearly depends on, has the opportunity to support its most vulnerable citizens with strategic, forward-looking collaborations. It is together that we can create a social safety net that best that addressing inequity, and ensures that no one is left behind.

Only together, we can create a better tomorrow for all British Columbians.

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