Strategy #6 - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Strategy #6

Reformulate Alberta government assistance programs to ensure they achieve the coordinated objective of providing Albertans with housing stability.

An array of Alberta government assistance programs and services are offered to Albertans. Under a housing first philosophy, these programs and services play critical roles in ending homelessness.

First, they help prevent further homelessness from occurring by providing assistance to Albertans in need. Second, they provide support to homeless individuals and families as they are rapidly re-housed, helping the individual or family re-establish stability. Albertans who face homelessness often require supports such as:

  • Income support programs
  • Employment and training services
  • Child and family support services
  • Disability support services
  • Settlement services and language-training
  • Addiction treatment and support
  • Mental health treatment and support
  • Credit counselling

However, there is a concern that the eligibility criteria of these programs are not aligned in ways that allow them to work together. Too often an Albertan who is in need of assistance faces a maze of qualifying thresholds and requirements which can be incompatible, result in claw-backs, or create gaps into which the person falls. In some cases a person becomes “double-binded” in the system, where accepting assistance from one program disqualifies them from getting much-needed help from another.

Alberta government assistance programs should all be aligned so that they work towards a common goal of ensuring a person can secure the assistance needed to maintain housing stability.

A comprehensive review of the Alberta government’s assistance programs will be undertaken to assess their availability, adequacy, and interaction, with a view to:

  • Adjusting eligibility requirements so that Albertans needing help can get the assistance they require;
  • Eliminating gaps in coverage so that Albertans in need are not lost in the system;
  • Ensuring support levels are appropriate and effective;
  • Simplifying application procedures so that programs are easier to access; and
  • Reformulating programs so that clients are not placed in “catch 22” situations when they seek assistance.
PID: 14615