Community Driven Solutions to Poverty: Challenges and Possibilities
Our current project asks:
how do various systems, structures, contexts, ideas and relations work to perpetuate complex poverty, and what are the steps that must be taken to build the social and political power needed to reduce complex poverty?
Our work is organized around four integrated themes derived from previous work: justice, safety & security; housing; education, employment and social inclusion; and community economic development (CED).
We employ the same multiple-method research approach used successfully in previous SSHRC projects — qualitative methods, especially community-based participatory research, and quantitative analysis. We also aim to move to a deeper level of inquiry by: using longitudinal analysis to map personal lives within a wider web of familial, community and societal relationships; documenting the multiple, conflicting interventions made by state systems (e.g., criminal justice, child welfare); and working with community and government partners to develop practical policy solutions. We will combine the skills of university researchers with strong publication records with the experiential knowledge of our community partners and the policy skills and capacities of our government partners.
While we focus on Manitoba to build on previous research and ensure an in-depth analysis, our research has broad importance. Because communities everywhere may face similar realities and pressures, our findings interest academics, policy makers and community organizations at local, national and international levels.
Partnering for Change: Community-Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty
This project will examine how promising community-based solutions can be supported at the institutional and policy levels to resolve deepening poverty-related problems in Manitoba’s inner-city and Aboriginal communities. Conditions in Manitoba’s increasingly multi-ethnic urban centres and Aboriginal communities continue to be cause for concern. The household poverty rate in Winnipeg’s inner city was 40% in 2006, double the city-wide rate (CCPA Mb. 2009). Manitoba’s Aboriginal population is projected to grow by 45% by 2017, and because of migration, will grow more than twice as fast in the south as the north. These projections are worrisome given the high rates of unemployment, inadequate housing, and crime and violence experienced in these communities.
When coupled with increases in the numbers of newcomers, who typically take up residence in Winnipeg’s inner city, the levels of spatially-concentrated, racialized poverty will only rise—unless action is taken to alter the course. In 2 previous SSHRC-funded projects we have deepened our understanding of these issues and identified effective solutions and various limits to transformational change. We seek now to investigate through time the impact of promising community-based solutions—such as innovative housing, education, employment and safety strategies, and personal and community empowerment—to determine how they can be expanded and made sustainable at the institutional and policy levels. We will build upon our past research to find solutions that are sustainable and transformational in Aboriginal and inner-city communities.
We will organize our work around 4 integrated themes derived from our previous work: justice, safety & security; housing & neighbourhood revitalization; capacity building, education & employment; and community economic development. We will employ the same multiple-method research approach used successfully in 2 previous SSHRC projects—qualitative methods, especially community-based participatory research, and quantitative analysis. We also aim to move to a deeper level of inquiry by: using longitudinal analysis to map personal lives within a wider web of familial, community and societal relationships; documenting the multiple, conflicting interventions made by state systems (e.g., criminal justice, child welfare); and working with community and government partners to develop practical policy solutions. We will combine the skills of university researchers with strong publication records with the experiential knowledge of our community partners and the policy skills and capacities of our government partners.
Transforming Inner-city and Aboriginal Communities
The Manitoba Research Alliance for Transforming Inner-city and Aboriginal Communities was a five-year research project dedicated to solving the complex problems of poverty and social exclusion in Manitoba’s inner-city and Aboriginal communities.
The Alliance’s broad goal is to produce original work that is rooted in the community experience and that is accountable to the community. We want to:
- Build local capacity
- Produce concrete deliverables for community organizations
- Engage and impact policy
- Contribute to a body of theory and knowledge that will help other communities to replicate the transformative experience.
The Alliance is made up of academic researchers from the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, government policy makers and community practitioners connected to Manitoba’s vibrant community-based organizations. The Manitoba branch of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – a community-based research institute – takes administrative control of the project.
Community Economic Development in the New Economy
The Research Alliance brings together academic researchers from the universities of Manitoba, Winnipeg and Brandon; senior government policy makers; and practitioners active in Manitoba’s dynamic CED community (and elsewhere). Leadership is being provided by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba, a community-based research institute uniquely positioned to make such community-university connections. The diversity of the research group will create a context for innovative, inter-disciplinary assessments of the impacts of the New Economy on disadvantaged communities. The research projects will be attentive to both theory and practice, and give voice to the personal experiences of people who live in those communities. It will evaluate the potential for CED approaches to capitalize on the opportunities and minimize the dislocations of the New Economy as experienced in urban, rural and northern Manitoba.