Making Ends Meet research project finds Vancouver families struggling

FIRST Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society on Wednesday released “Making Ends Meet: Low Wage Work, Poverty and Healthy Communities in Vancouver,” a research report that found child care deficits, unaffordable housing, and inadequate income are the three key issues that keep low-wage, hard-working Vancouver families living in poverty.

The Making Ends Meet Peer Research team gathered the stories of 60 parents of various ages, genders, and family structures from diverse backgrounds. All participants were working in precarious or low-wage positions while struggling to provide child care, food, shelter, and other necessities for their children.

“Child care deficits, unaffordable housing, and inadequate income emerged repeatedly as the key issues for Vancouver families who are living in poverty,” said Dr. Kendra Strauss, Director of SFU’s Labour Studies Program, and advisor on the project. “As the report points out, these three problems are at the core of every other issue that arises for low-income Vancouver families.”

Frustrated with challenges related to living in Vancouver, some participants expressed a desire to leave here and move back to their home countries or provinces, but being unable to afford the cost of moving or the gap in income that would occur during a move.

Researchers also asked parents what would make life better for their families and what changes might lead to healthier, more financially stable lives and communities.

A few key recommendations from Making Ends Meet participants included:

  • establishing meaningful rent controls;
  • provision of safe, dignified housing for low-income families;
  • ensuring affordable child care, and before and after school care spaces for all Vancouver children;
  • expanding student grants, student loans, and loan forgiveness for parents living in poverty; and
  • creating more government-funded food security programs, including direct payments.

The full list of recommendations can be found in the final pages of the report.

Read the full report, summary and fact sheet here:

The Making Ends Meet research project utilized participatory action research (PAR) methodology. This methodological approach involved the co-production of knowledge where participants and researchers collectively design, implement, analyze, and disseminate research. This multi-year research project wrapped up this past spring.

First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society is a registered charity in B.C. that conducts research and analysis on child and youth rights and well-being, offers education and training events, and makes policy recommendations to promote, strengthen and defend the rights of children and youth in BC.