Experiences with Social Assistance

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EndPovertyEdmonton and its collaborators, province-wide, have asked that the government #raisetheratesAB for #incomesupport and #AISH. Read more here.

There should be a living wage in place. This is a cost saving exercise as there would be fewer people in need of shelters and food banks. It’s particularly heartbreaking when children suffer and end up in foster care. It only makes sense if living wages for families were in place there would not be a need for social services interventions. Less would be needed for the administration of social services, less trauma for children as they would remain with their families where they belong.
— Leona, Albertan

Try living on $1500 or less a month. You can’t eat and pay rent, and I even had to have my car repo’ed. I’m disabled at 49 and spend 90% of the day in bed, in pain!
— Heather, Albertan

Please help fix this problem of people on social assistance living below the poverty line. Every life matters, we can do better, and we should be doing better, to take care of our fellow Edmontonians.
— Michelle, Business Owner

All Albertens deserve to have a fair chance at living a life that doesn’t consist of poverty and wondering how they’re going to pay their rent or where their next groceries are gonna come from…
— Rosey, Albertan

Every day I listen to the calls of clients struggling to make ends meet or dealing with urgent financial crisis due to the low income and inability to meet the criteria determined by the outdated policies of the AISH program.
— front-line staff in Alberta

Raising AISH and income support across the board is essential. A guaranteed income would be even better and has been demonstrated to have a range of positive outcomes. As a government you have an obligation to low income Albertans to take more steps to fulfill a social justice mandate. You have made a good beginning. Now let’s get bolder and be more successful in ending poverty. It shocked me when I found that the pensions I was struggling to manage on were well above the limits for assisted housing... I cannot imagine how people whose incomes are so much lower manage at all.
— B.H., Albertan

There is a serious need to support disadvantaged people with increased income.
— Brenda, Albertan

As a social assistance recipient myself, I know firsthand that funding needs to be increased to meet the demands of ever-increased rents, groceries, etc.
— Laurie, Albertan

As an individual on social assistance, I would like to see this important safety net increase so I can make ends meet each month. Further, I would like to see the basic earnings exemption raised to about $2000.00 per month so I have an incentive to re-enter the workforce.
— Michael, Albertan

I wish for everyone to be treated with dignity and to be able to afford housing, pay their bills, and still afford to eat somewhat healthy.
— Karen, Albertan

I am a housing worker in the downtown community. Due to the criminally low amount that our participants receive from social assistance, it makes it difficult for them to afford housing, especially with inflation. The average cost for a one-bedroom in the city is over $800, with social assistance participants only making $820 from medical benefits amd the additional core shelter, many only have about $300-400 left to live on for the month. Not to mention if they have to pay utilities. Let me ask you, can you live off of that much? I believe the government only gives this much to individuals because they aren’t working. The truth is life happens. If a doctor claims you as unfit to work, then I believe the people have the right to be able to afford groceries, instead of going to a soup kitchen, as well as a little extra to help them pay other expenses people may have. I don’t believe that it’s asking too much to increase the amount for those who are not able to work.
— front-line staff in Alberta

There is a common myth that people accessing income support are “freeloading” or using government funds as an alternative to working. For most of the recipients that I work with every day, it is not a choice. It’s not a convenient alternative. It is the only feasible way of living in any capacity beyond homelessness.

I strongly recommend that the income support level is increased as an attempt to remove individuals from the cycle of poverty. Please consider increasing funding for the many Edmontonians and Albertans facing financial barriers to an adequate quality of life.
— front-line staff in Alberta

I have a son who is living on AISH. He lives with me, and if he didn’t have this home he could not possibly have survived on the payment he receives each month. I think the AISH rates should be substantially increased and/or the claw-back of AISH money if someone has a paying job should be reconsidered.
— M., Albertan