Community agencies support research on innovative approaches to address poverty

Media Release, February 14, 2019, Calgary, Alberta – A new policy research report draws important attention to the inadequacy of the financial support provided to Albertans who access the income support system in their time of need. Most critically, the report highlights the importance of ensuring that financial supports allow people to afford safe and adequate housing.

When people face individual or community-wide circumstances that lead to loss of income, support to get them through those times is largely inadequate. The Measuring and Responding to Income Poverty report by Ron Kneebone and Margarita Wilkins from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary provides insight into the number of Albertans who experience poverty in our province.

Read our response to the report here.

Since the cost of living is so variable by community in Alberta, especially for housing, it is critical that social assistance and other forms of supports are adequate to meet basic needs. The report proposes an increase to benefits for Income Support recipients as a potential approach to respond to the cost of housing in specific communities and bring the level of social assistance closer to the poverty line. This recommendation also aligns with the federal government’s move to set Canada’s official poverty line to a measure that accounts for the different costs of living in communities across Canada.

“Addressing poverty comes at a cost, but so too does maintaining the status quo. We’re optimistic about recent changes to Alberta’s Income Support and AISH programs to index benefit levels. However, additional investment in the short term can ultimately reduce the need for future funding and provide Albertans with the stability they need to move out of poverty.” – Franco Savoia, Executive Director, Vibrant Communities Calgary.

 

About the Calgary Social Policy Collaborative

The Calgary Social Policy Collaborative (SPC) is a network of over 40 community organizations and funders working together to promote public policies that improve the economic and social well-being of all Albertans. The Collaborative aims to bring a clear and collective voice to government to enhance understanding of social issues among key stakeholders, including elected representatives and civil servants. The following members of the SPC contributed financial support to the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy to address a need for greater research capacity in the social services sector: Calgary Counselling Centre, Calgary Food Bank, Carya, Catholic Family Service, CUPS, Momentum, United Way of Calgary, Vibrant Communities Calgary, Women’s Centre of Calgary, YWCA Calgary.

For information, please contact:

Stephanie Rosch on behalf of the Calgary Social Policy Collaborative
Communications and Engagement Specialist
Vibrant Communities Calgary
Phone: 403-283-2193
Email

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