Mississauga's "Priority Neighbourhoods" Targets Suburban Poverty

With poverty indicators rising in suburban areas, Mississauga is looking to emulate Toronto's controversial "priority neighbourhoods" strategy to improve access to services.
April 20, 2011, 11am PDT | Michael Dudley
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The fastest-growing groups in Mississauga's suburbs are also those most vulnerable to poverty: recent immigrants, visible minorities, single parents, young families with children and seniors. A new strategy borrowed from Toronto may help, but some are concerned about the possible pride tag.

"The Mississauga Summit is considering a list of 13 potential neighbourhoods including Dixie-Bloor, Malton, and Cooksville. Planning is still in the early stages, but the summit presented its idea to the Mississauga City Council in February. The next step is to present the proposal to the public in late May and early June. Investments would be sought in such areas as language services and daycares, and the provision of increased access to community centres and libraries.

...Just how successful Toronto's priority neighbourhood program has been depends on whose opinion you get. Proponents say the program has done much to build a sense of community, reduce crime, increase opportunities for youth and improve services for people in underserved areas. Critics – including Mayor Rob Ford – say the Toronto program has squandered money without producing any tangible benefits."

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Published on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 in Globe and Mail
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