From the Minister
On June 15, we stand united against elder abuse.
Brightening a senior’s day by sending them a greeting card or helping them stay connected or find supports means so much this year.
A day to focus on safe, stable affordable housing for Albertans.
Alberta’s government is improving and expanding the affordable housing system.
Government allocated $238 million over 3 years to provide 1,800 new and regenerated affordable housing units, 1,700 jobs and maintain the 27,100-units owned by the province.
Red tape reduction measures automatically enrol AISH recipients in seniors financial programs at 65 and make it easier for seniors to send documents or make loan payments online.
- Alberta’s government is taking action to prevent and address elder abuse in Alberta communities. Our first step is to clearly define the term “elder abuse” with input from community organizations and the public. Albertans were invited to help update the definition of elder abuse through an online survey that was available from October 4 to 25.
- The Government of Alberta invested more than $170 million to help keep residents and staff in seniors’ lodges, long-term care and designated supportive living facilities safe from COVID-19. Alberta Health Services and Seniors and Housing coordinate the distribution of $14.2 million per month, including $2.9 million per month for seniors’ lodges.
- More than $30 million was provided for emergency social services, including many seniors-serving organizations.
- Healthy Aging CORE, an online hub, was launched in May 2020 to help make it easier for seniors-serving organizations to share resources and coordinate services. The online hub focusses on key COVID-19 issues such as transportation, food security, social isolation and home supports.
Affordable Housing Transformation
- Stronger Foundations is Alberta’s 10-year strategy to improve and expand affordable housing, while building a sustainable system that provides flexible, fair and inclusive housing options well into the future.
- It outlines the bold and thoughtful changes needed to provide safe, stable, affordable housing for an additional 25,000 households to increase the total served to 82,000 – an increase of more than 40%.
- This strategic direction is based on advice from the 2020 Affordable Housing Review Panel.
- Nearly 500,000 Albertans spend more than 30% of their household income on housing, which is unaffordable according to the standard of housing affordability.
- As of April 2021, more than 110,000 low-income Albertans live in affordable housing and more than 24,000 are on a waitlist. The last figure has doubled in the past decade and action is required now to address the growing demands for safe, affordable housing.
- Alberta’s seniors population is growing rapidly. Every month, 4,000 Albertans turn 65 years old. By 2035, Alberta will be home to more than one million seniors.
- In Alberta, over 27% of seniors receive income supplements, compared to only 6.3% in B.C. and 7.3% in Ontario.
- Seniors and Housing provides seniors financial assistance programs to help seniors meet their basic needs, make adaptations to their homes and afford essential personal and health supports.
- The Alberta Social Housing Corporation owns and supports around 25,000 housing units for seniors. This makes up around 54% of its total housing portfolio.
Building more housing
- Capital Plan 2021 allocated $238 million over three years.
- Building on the more than 1,500 units completed in the past two years, this funding will provide an additional 1,800 new and regenerated affordable housing units, create more than 1,700 jobs, and maintain the 27,100 provincially-owned portfolio.
- In 2020-21, the Alberta Social Housing Corporation will spend $216 million to support the development and maintenance of a sustainable affordable housing system.
Budget 2022 is moving Alberta forward by building health system capacity, getting more Albertans working, and balancing the budget.
Updating how we define elder abuse so it can be better understood, recognized and prevented at the community level.
Social isolation and exclusion can be a significant issue for many seniors. Toolkits are available to help service providers, community groups, and health professionals address its challenges.
Find potential affordable housing options that may suit your situation.
Josephine Pon was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on April 16, 2019 as the MLA for Calgary-Beddington, and was appointed as Alberta’s Minister of Seniors and Housing on April 30, 2019.
Pon has a wealth of work experience in banking. For more than 20 years, she has worked with three major chartered banks – HSBC, Royal Bank and Scotiabank. Her appointment with these banks includes experience in Personal/Commercial Banking and her last appointment was the Regional Manager, Business Development responsible for Multicultural Banking and working with over 3,000 staff in the Prairie Region for Scotiabank. During her career in the banking industry, she also worked at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a crown corporation in mortgage insurance, as an International Trade Consultant and in the Assisted Housing department for the Prairie Region.
Prior to being elected as MLA and her appointment as Minister, she was the Vice President of the Taste of Asia Group in Calgary; this executive role provided her the opportunity to enhance her corporate business experience, providing her hands-on insight into the current economic downturn situation in Alberta and the challenges faced by people in this province, including business owners, restaurant employees and grassroots Albertans.
Pon has been active in volunteering with numerous non-profit organizations in Calgary and Edmonton throughout her life. She was a member of the working group on the Edmonton Mayor’s Task Force to Eliminate Poverty, the Board Chair of Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC), Chair of the ISC Immigrants of Distinction Awards Gala, Vice President of the Hong Kong Canada Business Association and Cultural Advisor for the Glenbow Museum.
Pon holds a Masters of Science degree in Management from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.