Sliding Scale report passes committee & urgent action needed!

VCC is excited to share some great news! On July 6th, the Standing Committee on Community and Protective Services passed the sliding scale report. In fact, based on advocacy efforts from community members, Committee modified the recommendations to have even deeper discounts (95%) for persons below 50% of LICO, while approving three bands of discounts below 100% LICO for the Calgary Transit Low Income Pass program. This is a huge step forward as we work towards ensuring all Calgarians have access the right services, resources and supports that they need. We couldn’t be more pleased by the results and the City’s leadership on this issue!

While this is indeed encouraging news, our work as community advocates is not done yet. The report will go to Council on July 25th and must pass by the majority of Council members in order to move forward. If passed, City Administration will be bring another report forward in the fall outlining the implications of the deeper discount and recommendations on how this will be funded.

We need your help more than ever to get this passed by Council! Please contact your City Councillor and let them know why you support the sliding scale report recommendations.

Hilary, a member of Poverty Talks! shares why she supports the sliding scale report below:

When I lived in women’s shelter, women had to beg for a bus ticket just to get to work, I had to go begging for a ticket from the shelter just to see my sister. A lot of my house-mates went from Agency to Agency just to get a ticket. There was so much desperation for a ticket! Ladies were piecing together nickels and dimes wherever they could get them, just to put enough together for a single $3.15 ticket. A lot of the Ladies did not know, including me, that the low income monthly transit pass existed. Even then, there was not enough dollars to afford one. The human cost involved in getting a ticket (cost to dignity, self-image, and self-worth) was much greater than its price.

With homelessness comes TRAUMA:  Numbness, alienation, frustration, stigma, anger, self-loathing, no or low self-esteem, loneliness, resentment, helplessness, isolation, grief, anxiousness and hopelessness.

Finding ways to survive and to heal from trauma is possible but it is a long process. Healing from trauma can take many forms. I, along with some of the people I met in the homeless community used the following strategies: 

  • Being part of the larger Community
  • Going for Coffee and visiting
  • Hanging out at the Library to read or use the free computers
  • Doing your own grocery shopping if your income is enough to afford it
  • Finding meaningful work
  • Talking to friends and family
  • Find your faith and spirituality by going to Church or sharing conversation with others in the Faith Community
  • Going to Medical Appointments or taking your children to school

Most of these require the use of public transit. Many of my friends do not have enough income for Transit. A $44.00 per month low income bus pass does not seem a lot, but when your income is $627.00 per month (for a single individual) and you are charged $323.00 per month for core shelter, there is not enough disposable income to go around.

I support the recommendations being brought forward by Administration and I strongly believe that those who survive on an extremely low incomes need a deeper discount on transit fares. A 95% subsidy rate for those living on incomes below 50% of LICO would roughly equate to a $5 a month low-income transit pass. Having the ability to use transit builds dignity and self-worth. It helps people access the services they need, to deal with their trauma and find opportunities to climb out of poverty.

A $5.00 a monthly transit pass is like a lifeline for many of the people I know and care about.

Momentum towards a fair and equitable transit system is strong; please show your support to Council and help us reach the finish line!

For more information on how you can help, contact Darrell at darrell@vibrantcalgary.com or Colleen with Fair Fares at fairfarescalgary1@gmail.com.

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