From the Minister

September 04, 2020 | Seniors and housing

Ensuring older Albertans receive the programs and services they need, and helping transform the province’s affordable housing system to address growing needs and improve accessibility.

Accomplishments

Image of Minister Pon at Piper Creek

Government allocated $417 million over 3 years to provide 2,000 new and regenerated affordable housing units, 3,000 jobs and maintain the 26,700-units owned by the province.

Affordable Housing Review Panel

An independent review panel is consulting stakeholders and preparing its recommendations to Minister Pon about Alberta’s affordable housing system. The panel’s report will be submitted to the minister by September 31.

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.

Collaborative Online Resources and Education (CORE) is an online knowledge hub for seniors-serving organizations to share resources and improve delivery of services for seniors.

Key information

  • Protecting seniors
    • 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 Review
    • The Affordable Housing Review Panel was appointed on July 9, 2020 to provide the government with recommendations to transform how Alberta’s affordable housing system is delivered so it is able to address growing demand and is financially sustainable.
    • Nearly 500,000 Albertans spend more than 30% of their household income on housing, which is unaffordable according to the standard of housing affordability.
    • Currently, more than 110,000 Albertans live in affordable housing, while 19,000 more households are on waitlists.
    • The Government of Alberta provides 60,900 government-subsidized housing units.
  • Alberta seniors
    • 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 2020 allocated $417 million over 3 years to provide 2,000 new and regenerated affordable housing units, more than 3,000 jobs and maintain the 26,700 units owned by the province.
    • In 2020-21, the Alberta Social Housing Corporation will spend $216 million to support the development and maintenance of a sustainable affordable housing system.

In focus

The panel explored ways to make Alberta’s affordable housing system more efficient and effective.
Government measures that protect the health and safety of at-risk Albertans from COVID-19.

Reducing social isolation for seniors

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.

Recognize Albertans and organizations that make a difference in the lives of seniors and their communities.

Biography

Minister Pon was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on April 16, 2019, as the MLA for Calgary-Beddington.

Pon has a wealth of work experience in banking. For more than 20 years she was the Account Manager in Personal/Commercial banking and also the Regional Manager, Business Development responsible for Multicultural Banking and working with over 230 branches and 3,000 staff in the Prairie Region for Scotiabank. 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 in the Prairie Region.

Most recently, Pon acted as the Vice President of the Taste of Asia Group, managing five restaurants and leading over 150 employees. These experiences have also given her insights into the current economic situation and the challenges faced by everyone in this city including business owners and restaurant staff.

Pon has been active in volunteering in a number of non-profit organizations including her time as a member of the working group in the Edmonton Mayor’s task force to eliminate poverty, the Board Chair of Immigrant Services Calgary and Gala Chair for Immigrants of Distinction Awards gala.

Josephine Pon was appointed as Alberta’s Minister of Seniors and Housing on April 30, 2019. She will work to ensure that Albertans have access to quality and affordable housing, and that our seniors have the resources and care they need.