SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The provincial government and Living SJ have partnered to apply innovation to the issue of generational poverty. A memorandum of understanding was signed today.

“When we reduce generational poverty, we strengthen our economy and communities,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “Our multi-year economic growth plan is all about growing the economy in a way that it works for all New Brunswickers.”

Last May, the government announced an investment of $10 million over five years to support innovation projects and initiatives that strive towards ending generational poverty in Saint John. This fund is in addition to existing government investments in community programs aimed at ending generational poverty in Saint John.

The investment will be managed by Living SJ on behalf of the community. The organization’s network includes senior leaders in Greater Saint John from all three levels of government, as well as representatives of business groups, non-profits and low-income neighbourhoods.

Saint John will serve as a testing site for these new innovative approaches. The evidenced-based initiatives supported by this funding will have targets and will be evaluated to determine their impact, return on investment and scalability.

“Poverty takes years to root, and it will take years to solve,” said David Alston, co-chair of Living SJ. “This is why multi-year funding is so critical to incubate new, innovative ideas that will demonstrate impact for long-term, transformational change. We will work with the province to scale the most successful projects and share our learning across New Brunswick and beyond.”

The first projects of the Social Innovation Fund are:

  • Saint John Land Bank: This project will help address the need for affordable and adequate housing in the old north end, one of the city’s low-income neighbourhoods. It will support the development of Victoria Commons into 47 mixed-income housing units. The two-year project will provide $90,000 per year to hire a project manager to lead day-to-day activities of the development. The findings from this initiative will inform the Saint John Land Bank’s goal of developing affordable housing in other priority neighborhoods.
  • Learn & Go: This project aims to demonstrate the value of an outreach, connection and learning model that can prepare, build skills and transition 60 people to employment annually. With a budget of $737,000 over five years, this initiative will adapt an existing program, Working 4 Change: Learn & Go, which focuses on better preparing people to escape poverty and improving the alignment of services and policies.
  • Parent-Child Assistance Program: This four-year pilot project will offer tailored, in-home and structured case management and support to pregnant women and new mothers who are struggling with addiction. The program has significantly improved the outcomes of participants across North America in terms of addiction management, securing stable housing, maintaining or regaining guardianship of children, reducing reliance on government assistance, and family planning. This will be Atlantic Canada’s first site for the program.