The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is hosting a poverty reduction strategy community meeting in Smithers this weekend.

The community meeting has been set up for residents to speak directly to the government about ways to reduce poverty in the area.

“We know that the broad pieces of poverty and inequality are pretty similar, those ones that are priorities are different in different parts of the province depending on local circumstances, and certainly local communities like Smithers have different challenges than Vancouver,” says Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Shane Simpson.

The meeting is part of the province’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy plan, and one of the 22 planned events across the province.

There are close to 700,000 people living in poverty in the province.

“One of the real telling things about the number is that over 40% of all those people have a pay cheque coming in – they are the working poor – they are not on assistance, they are not on a pension and they can’t make ends meet.”

The meeting will take place at the Smithers Senior Citizens Association at 4018 Mountainview Avenue.

Doors will open at noon and the meeting will run from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm.