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  • 2019 Award of Merit for Advocacy of Social Justice

    2019 Award of Merit for Advocacy of Social Justice

    The Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) is an organization committed to undertaking social research for the benefit of the entire community. We recognize many individuals and groups in our community also work tirelessly to advocate for programs in parallel to the ESPC vision of a just and inclusive community. The ESPC’s annual Award of Merit recognizes an individual, or group, Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - The Arts

    2018 Vital Topics - The Arts

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton.  This edition focuses on The Arts. ARTS include a wide variety of creative disciplines including: Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - Senior Women in Edmonton

    2018 Vital Topics - Senior Women in Edmonton

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue Read More
  • Edmonton Vital Signs 2018

    Edmonton Vital Signs 2018

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, Vital Topics, that are timely and important to Edmonton - specifically Women, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Edmonton, Visible Minority Women, and Senior Women. Each of these topics appear in Read More
  • CBC News - Living wage in Edmonton is going up but that isn't good

    CBC News - Living wage in Edmonton is going up but that isn't good

    Radio Active with Adrienne Pan Interview with Sandra Ngo, Edmonton Social Planning Council. Click here to listen to the interview   Read More
  • Media Release: Edmonton Living Wage 2018 Update

    Media Release: Edmonton Living Wage 2018 Update

    June 21, 2018 For Immediate Release Edmonton Living Wage 2018 Update Contending with Costs For the first time in 2 years, the living wage for Edmonton has risen. For 2018, an income earner must make $16.48 per hour to support a family of four, an increase of $0.17 per hour from last year’s living wage. The living wage is intended Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

    2018 Vital Topics - Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - Visible Minority Women in Edmonton

    2018 Vital Topics - Visible Minority Women in Edmonton

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue Read More
  • More Alberta families worked part-time, or part year, as the province’s oil economy took a downturn, Statistics Canada study shows

    More Alberta families worked part-time, or part year, as the province’s oil economy took a downturn, Statistics Canada study shows

     By Catherine GriwkowskyStarMetro Edmonton Thu., May 17, 2018 Original Article - click here EDMONTON—Pipeline inspector and project manager turned stay-at-home dad Chad Miller is pinning his family’s future on the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline as he searches for work to pay off debt. “I’ve got more qualifications than I know what to do with and I can’t even get Read More
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By Alicja Siekierska, Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON - Starting in August, nearly 1,000 lower income Edmonton households relying on monthly rent subsidies will find themselves short a crucial $50.

The Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC) in Edmonton is reducing the maximum rent supplements given to 916 households that rely on the subsidies, from $550 a month to $500.

In the March provincial budget, the government cut rent supplement funding across the province by $6.6 million, forcing the CRHC to make program cuts and reduce their maximum amount of direct-to-tenant rent supplement going toward lower income households.

CRHC executive director Greg Bounds said the reduction was the best way to ensure those households currently receiving rental assistance would continue to do so.

"We had a reduction in the amount of dollars available in our budget, but we wanted to ensure that we could continue to supply rent supplements to everyone who is using our programs today," said Bounds.

Many are criticizing the government's rent supplement cuts, saying the reduction will have a drastic impact on Edmonton's most vulnerable population that relies on the subsidies each month.

"It's going to put these families in a position where they are forced to make an impossible choice," said NDP Municipal Affairs critic Deron Bilous at a news conference earlier this week. "Either they pay their rent and keep a roof over their heads, they pay the bills or they can feed their families."

Members of the opposition are calling on the government to restore the rent supplement funding in the province.

"The impact of these cuts for these families is significant," said Bilous. "Many of the families that are receiving this supplement are recipients of (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) funding or other forms of income support."

Municipal Affairs spokeswoman Trisha Anderson said the rent supplement budget was reduced based on spending allocations from previous years. She said the government will still be able to supply more than 12,000 households across Alberta with rent subsidies each month.

John Kolkman, a research co-ordinator for the Edmonton Social Planning Council, believes the reductions are going to be damaging given the current state of the city's rental market.

"It's a very challenging time to be implementing these kind of cuts," said Kolkman "They are coming when vacancy rates are dropping, and while rental rates are going up. It's very much becoming a landlord's market."

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.'s most recent market survey, out of every 100 rental units in the city, only one is available. The apartment vacancy rate in Edmonton dropped from 2.7 per cent last year to a mere 1.2 in April 2013.

The survey also indicated that while vacancy rates continue to decline, rental rates are rising. In Edmonton, the average cost of a two-bedroom suite increased by 4.2 per cent from April 2012 to April 2013.

"Not only should the cuts be reversed, but the province should be investing more in rental assistance programs," said Kolkman.

Kolkman said rent assistance, including the direct-to-tenant rent supplement program, can act as a homelessness prevention measure.

"If you cannot afford to pay your rent, there is a real risk you may become homeless."

The households currently qualifying for the rent subsidies will see their monthly payments reduced starting Aug. 1, however, the new maximum will only be implemented after each individual client's annual income review date.

Bounds said the process of switching over to the reduced subsidy will happen gradually.

"This isn't happening overnight. It will be implemented in stages over the next year."

Bounds said the direct-to-tenant supplements are the only rent subsidies affected by the budget cuts. He said the CRHC will continue to accept new, qualified clients, although they can expect to be put on a waitlist. 

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Video Feature

Global News - 1 in 6 Alberta children lives below poverty line

Read more about the Edmonton Social Planning Council report on child poverty in Alberta.

Alberta Child Poverty Report - 2018 Click to Download