SURREY (NEWS1130) – One in five people are living in poverty in British Columbia’s second largest city.

Surrey’s Poverty Reduction Society says there are four key areas that the city needs to tackle to address the problem — transportation, housing, income and support.

“Transportation is very costly and many, many people who live in Surrey and work in Surrey take their cars to work. If they took public transit, they would be able to save significant amounts of dollars,” believes the Society’s Alice Sundberg.

She says Surrey’s social assistance rates are way below what they should be, and a lack of affordable housing means many people are spending over half of their income on rent.

“More affordable housing is really critical because when people are spending 50, 60, 70 per cent of their income on their housing just alone, you can imagine how much that would affect people who are living in poverty.”

Surrey is BC’s fastest growing city. Sundberg adds it’s a encouraging to see city council and Mayor Dianne Watts trying to address the issue of poverty.

“Economic status for the entire community is really dependent on having a vibrant community with people who are healthy and productive,” she notes. “We know it’s important for Surrey to thrive as a growing city to tackle poverty.”

Watts will announce a plan to fight poverty later today.