Neighbourhoods | Resident Mobilization
and Training |
Housing | Social,
Physical and Economic Improvements
*Further details can be found in the Poverty and Plenty II released in 2008.
Poverty is not evenly distributed across Saint John; rather
people who live in poverty are more likely to be concentrated
in specific neighbourhoods. Saint John’s neighbourhood
poverty was highest in our five priority neighbourhoods:
We consider them to be a priority neighbourhood because
of their high poverty rates and percentage of single parents,
and their low levels of education and labour force participation.
In the 2006 Census there were close to 12,000 city residents
who lived in these five priority neighbourhoods, almost
5,000 of which lived below the poverty line. While these
neighbourhoods accounted for a bit over a sixth of the city’s
population, they housed over a third of the city’s
residents who lived below the poverty line.
Our analysis shows that there is a significant variation
within the priority neighbourhoods themselves both in the
2006 data as well as in changes over time – there
is a lot to learn from the areas within the neighbourhoods
that are improving at an accelerated rate.
In the 2006 Census Crescent Valley, the Old North End,
and the Waterloo Village were all classified as very high
poverty neighbourhoods because more than 40% of their residents
lived below the poverty line (the threshold at which sociologists
warn that the entire area is under stress), while the South
End and the Lower West Side were classified as high poverty
neighbourhoods where between 30% and 39.9% lived in poverty.
In the 2001 Census all these neighbourhoods had the same
classification except the South End which improved from
very high to a high poverty neighbourhood.
Isolation is an insidious by-product of poverty. At a practical
level it disconnects people from the natural flow of like
in a community making it difficult for them to learn about
and access programs that might help them like education,
child care, job training, and health services. At a more
personal level it can lead to feelings of depression, breed
low self-esteem and rob them of the interpersonal connections
with friends and loved ones that make life enjoyable. The
problem of isolation is particularly acute in Saint John’s
five priority neighbourhoods.
Vibrant Communities has established a four-pronged approach
to revitalizing these neighbourhoods through a housing and
energy strategy, developing mixed income neighbourhoods,
improvements to social, physical, and economic infrastructure,
and involving residents in designing and implementing practical
solutions for their neighbourhoods.
Based on the 2006 Census data we have also flagged three
new areas of concern (each a DA of their own). These areas
have some or all of the following: a very high poverty rate
above 40%, low home-ownership, high percentage of single
mothers, and a high prevalence of individuals without a
high school education. These areas are in need of further
exploration to determine the level of vulnerability and
whether intervention is necessary.
To learn more on each neighbourhood, click on the area
on the above map.
The community and all levels of government must work in
concert to build neighbourhood leadership and capacity to
drive neighbourhood improvements.
The top priority is bringing resources to priority neighbourhoods
and helping residents access quality education, recreation,
employment, and health services. Creating these opportunities
is fundamental to setting a foundation for building leadership
capacity in low income neighbourhoods and promoting inclusive
Saint John’s priority neighbourhoods are mobilizing
and residents are increasingly involved. Residents are informing
priorities and approaches, as well as attracting new services
and resources. Neighbourhood activity serves as a source
of innovation and learning about programs. It is important
that resident-led poverty reduction remain a fundamental
principle within Saint John’s poverty reduction strategy.
Sustainable staffing for priority neighbourhoods is vital
to support resident-led community development.
Some specific strategies to build the capacity within neighbourhoods
Power Up is a program run by the Urban Core Support
Network with funding from the Status of Women Canada,
is an intensive training program to help low-income
women take their next steps towards education, or community
involvement. For more information contact Brenda
Murphy at (506) 642-9033.
Learn and Go
Vibrant Communities Saint John and St. Joseph’s
Community Health Center with funding from Irving Oil
Ltd. provided Learn and Go in 2008 and 2009. Up to 30
residents from priority neighbourhoods attended leadership
workshops to learn how to improve their neighbourhoods,
worked with a mentor on a particular project, and pitched
their projects to potential partners. Concrete solutions
are found to better the lives of residents. For information
contact Cathy Wright.
Neighbourhood Assistants (VCSJ
The participation and input of people living in poverty
are vital to the relevance and success of multi-sectoral
poverty reduction initiatives. Getting people out to
community events – especially when they are struggling
to meet family and job commitments – can be difficult
work. However, attending an event can be the first step
in building relationships with neighbours and learning
about useful community-based programs and activities.
It all starts with the right invitation. Vibrant Communities
employs a resident from each priority neighbourhood
to help engage the community from the inside. Vibrant Communities also employs a Neighbourhood Community Developer who works with neighbourhood groups and neighbourhood assitants to support resident engagement and cross neighbourhood sharing.. The current
roster of Neighbourhood Assistants is:
Because the poorest Saint John residents are generally
renters concentrated in priority neighbourhoods, they face
unique challenges related to energy poverty, limited neighbourhood
equity, and difficulty accessing many government and community
resources. Existing housing programs at federal, provincial,
and municipal levels are underfunded and oversubscribed.
BCAPI / VCSJ Housing Working Group
Information on BCAPI / VCSJ Housing Working Group to
Our mandate is to work to provide more affordable housing
for low to moderate income households and to provide
services to non-profit housing groups to help them maintain
their housing projects.
For more information:
Housing Alternatives Inc.
75 Adelaide Street,
Saint John, NB E2K 1W4
Tel: (506) 632-9393
Saint John Non-Profit Housing
Saint John Non Profit Housing Inc. provides the following
services: 1) develop, construct, maintain, and operate
housing for low and moderate income seniors, families,
and special groups; 2) maintain liaison with other community-based
housing groups to exchange information and provide support;
3) maintain liaison with senior levels of government
to ensure appropriate funding levels; and 4) develop
and implement a social policy for the housing for the
City of Saint John.
For more information:
Rotary Admiral Beatty Complex
14 King Square South
Saint John, NB E2L 1E5
Tel: (506) 658-1925
Greater Saint John Homelessness Steering Committee:
The Greater Saint John Homelessness Steering Committee
(GSJHSC) is an inter-agency committee representing all
agencies in Greater Saint John that work with the homeless
population and those at-risk of becoming homeless. To
learn more contact the Human Development Council at
(506) 634-1673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
and Economic Improvements
- North End Works: North End Works is
a program to stimulate business in the North End based
on the skills and talents of residents. Joyce Fowler and
Janet McLaughlin have been hired to coordinate the project
and a team of residents have begun collecting information
on skills that abound the North End (Crescent Valley and
the Old North End). For more information contact Joyce
- Crescent Valley and Housing Pilot Recycling:
The Crescent Valley Resource Centre and the Department
of Social Development will be piloting a recycling program
with one area in the near future as a start to address
garbage issues raised by residents.