Bridging the Affordability Gap: Report and Recommendations
Bridging the Affordability Gap summarizes the results of a short-term bridge funding program involving five women with histories of sexual exploitation who were facing financial difficulties making ends meet and did not want to turn back to the sex trade to pay the bills. For five months (November 2020 to March 2021), project funding covered basic living costs, financial coaching, and provided other supports. CEASE staff worked with each person to identify gaps in their budget, address them on a short-term basis, and take steps toward earning a sustainable and liveable income.
- Revamp provincial income support programs to function as a basic income.
- Change the name of the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program to Assured Income Supporting Health.
- Transition caseloads from the Alberta Supports’ Barriers to Full Employment category to the AISH program.
- Revamp the Alberta Supports program to better tailor support for working age adults who have temporary income loss, who are not eligible for federal employment insurance (EI) or their EI benefits have expired and who are expected to return to paid employment.
- Reinstate indexing all provincial income support programs, including Alberta Supports and AISH.
- Eliminate the long wait-lists for affordable housing so that all qualifying households receive rental assistance based on 30% of their income on a timely basis.
- Ensure the Alberta Supports’ Additional Shelter allowance (up to $307 per month) provided to clients paying market rent is flexible, with no fixed time limit for single parents with children, until a fully-funded rent assistance program is available to all low-income tenants.
- Strengthen bridging programs by easing qualification rules and reducing reliance on individual donors.
- Identify opportunities for low-income Edmontonians to save on their communications plans (internet, TV, and cell phone). This can be achieved through efforts between Empower U, the Edmonton Financial Employment Collaborative, and the United Way working in collaboration with telecommunications providers.
- Enhance food security through collective kitchens, community gardens, and food cards.
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