Ward 12 - Municipal Candidate Response Form (Responses)
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TimestampEmail AddressCandidate NameIf elected, how will you champion the Early Years in your governance work on Council?How will you support Council’s current initiatives focused on young children and their families?Do you have any new or different initiatives to propose that will improve the early childhood development results for young children? If so, what are they?
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8/25/2017 15:28:17info@moebanga.caMoe BangaThe Early Years in one’s life make an impact on the rest of that individual’s lifetime. Often, but not always, the Early Years starts at home. So we need to look at the families and the communities of our youth. They need to be in good hands growing up, and then it will be a domino effect going forward into our youngsters’ lives.
Generally in the community, I’d like to make an improvement in the reduction of crime. Also, in reference to crime, I would like to create education towards the perception of crime in the community. The community needs improved traffic safety, and I’d like to make contributions to improve that. Homelessness is a problem as well, I’d like to help decrease the rate of homelessness in our communities. These things will be a betterment for our future, and will impact the generations to come before they even exist. When we have children, we need good recreational infrastructure for them. Along with that, having affordable housing is a priority. Having affordable housing available to a family can impact the quality of life of a child - especially a family having their first child who are in need, for whatever reason.
As mentioned above, having the availability of recreational facilities and even community parks can be beneficial to the quality of life of young children and their families. This allows for safe environments for our children. Some families need help with child care. Having more availability of child care in the community would be an asset to assist the focus on young children and their families. Along with child care, we need programs for early childhood development. Having early childhood development programs would enrich the lives of our youth and help them earlier on. Our youth is our future. In all of the things mentioned, one continuous theme should be safety. Whether it’s in the public parks or recreational spaces, or in child care facilities. Our youth, and families, need a safe place to grow and thrive in. Right now we are trying to create more early childhood development programs. Example: ‘Family Futures.’ The creation of these programs would assist in the results of childhood development in our community. We are trying to develop programs specifically in the preschool setting in partnership with the different school boards in our lovely city.
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9/7/2017 20:18:33Logan.YEG@gmail.comNigel LoganFirst, I must thank SEECCC on its work helping young people reach their full potential. In my view, the best way for City Council to help assist SEECCC with its work is in poverty reduction, affordable housing, and improving access to services (as well as improving services in general).

For affordable housing and poverty reduction, there must be a more developed strategy in improving access, as well as the number of homes available. Capital Region Housing has a lengthy waitlist of people waiting to gain access to stable long term housing. Research has shown that the number one influence on health is level of income, so we should be working towards ways to reduce this influence. By giving children the opportunity to grow up in a stable household, we can reduce disparity in the early years, rather than a more costly reduction as they become adults. The Habitat for Humanity build in Laurel is a good example of this, but more units are needed.

Improving access to services is also important. I grew up in a small town that did not have public transit - as such, my options were very limited if I wanted to go to the library, the swimming pool, or look for a part time job during high school. There are two themes here that also apply to Edmonton. First, we need improved public services for children and youth, including more age-based programs at our libraries, inexpensive sports programs at recreation centres and green spaces, and generally more diverse activities to do (e.g. access to art, music, language classes, etc). Availability of informational classes for parents, as well as for parents and children, should be improved as well. The second theme is that of accessibility in terms of transportation. There are areas of the city that are largely inaccessible by public transportation, or programs are located in areas that are difficult to get to. This affects young parents who are restricted in taking jobs that might help raise their family out of poverty, as well as youth and teenagers looking for that first job. A 16 year old without a credit card cannot use Uber to get home from a late shift, for example.
Having grown up in a low income household myself, I can see how programs like these would have helped when I was younger.

In regards to the three programs mentioned: Housing First is an absolute requirement when talking about reduction of homelessness. A person cannot realistically expect to improve their situation by simply 'getting a job'. As mentioned above in my comments about affordable housing, we must keep two things in mind: housing must be near services, and it must be distributed throughout the city. Concentrating social housing in only one part of the city will only make problems worse and cause crime issues that residents worry about. I would like to see an expansion to this program where the chronically homeless can be housed and 'graduated' into the Housing First program as I feel this program is not adequate in this manner. Homeward Trust has done some research surrounding this which I would encourage those interested to look into.

EndPoverty is a laudable program but it is too early to measure it's effectiveness. I agree with the goals, but they need to be paired with economic opportunity. For example, if large employers are attracted to the city (Amazon was recently mentioned in the news) a certain percentage of the jobs created should be set aside for people utilizing social programs when possible. Dignity of the person is often forgotten when administering social programs and so I would like to give people the opportunity to support themselves ("a hand up, not a hand out").

Child Friendly Edmonton shares similar goals that I do. As always, there is more to be done. Transportation for young mothers with strollers remains an issue, as well as generally moving around the city with one. For youth and teenagers, important considerations would be inexpensive programs and activities, access to sports, libraries and study spaces, and so on. I remember feeling intellectually starved as a teenager due to a poor local library, everything cost money that neither I or my parents could afford, and there was nowhere to go. However, as mentioned above, it can be hard to reach some of these places without proper public transportation.

I touched on a few of these above but not everything was covered. Here in Ward 12, we are truly lucky to have a great facility like the Meadows Recreation Centre. It has the second busiest library in the city, and the fitness space is truly great. Since it opened the community in this corner of the city really opened up.

That being said, we are missing out on a similar facility further south in the Ellerslie/Summerside area, where residents are forced to travel quite far by car just to get to Terwillegar or Meadows Recreation Centres. A facility like this would help out numerous families and give older children a place to go after school to study or exercise.

Furthermore, a number of community groups have approached me even before I chose to run for Council on the basis of building a community classroom and activity space where classes on languages, arts or dance can be taught. There is a dearth of community space all across southeast Edmonton and in Ward 12, and the classrooms for rent in the Meadows Recreation Centre are too few and too expensive for ordinary community groups to afford. I see this being funded and built similar to the Jerry Forbes Centre for Community Spirit.

Obviously a formula for access would have to be worked out, but it would offer space for these programs as well as those championed and offered by SEECCC and its partners. I noticed that much of the initiatives promoted by the City do not always include culturally appropriate programs, especially given the huge diversity of Ward 12 and southeast Edmonton. Often cultural groups better know how to provide service to their community; this would be one tool to solve this.
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