When it comes to forming the basis of a poverty reduction strategy, Shane Simpson, B.C.’s minister of social development and poverty reduction, said it was essential to actually hear from the estimated 557,000 British Columbians living below the poverty line — four-in-10 of them “working poor,” he said.

The study found affordable and secure housing was a top concern for almost all people who offered input, but transportation, health costs and food security also emerged as important priorities holding many families back.

“We heard from many participants there is a tremendous amount of stigma around poverty in B.C.,” the report said. “This stigma stops people from finding good homes, good jobs and getting the help and services they need. What we heard paints a troubling picture of the depth and breadth of poverty in our province.”