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Affordability advocates say even if federal rent top up comes through, more is needed


Jim Degenstein receives the provincial AISH benefit because of a lifelong learning disability that requires a trustee to oversee his affairs.

His rent is about $350 below the market average, but he still needs the food bank each month to get by.

"By the time you go to the groceries store there's nothing left," said Degenstein. "If I didn't have the help, I would be on the street."

His cheque went up by six per cent in January, the first of three annual increases promised by the province. He now gets one payment a month for $1,787.

That cheque is too high to qualify for the one-time federal rent top-up of $500. To be eligible you had to have $20,000 or less for income in 2021. Alberta's 70,000 AISH recipients miss that mark by about $20 a month.

"So this is a terrible policy wrinkle. I don't like it. I'm working with finance and housing to figure out a solution to solve it," said Randy Boissonnault, Liberal MP for Edmonton Centre. "We were on this way before we saw the letter from the premier."

The province says the feds need to act now to include the vulnerable here who fall within the apparent spirit of the grant.

"I think if the feds had done their homework, they would have made that threshold enough that we could have got Albertans included in that program," said UCP MLA Jeremy Nixon, minister of seniors, community and social services.

The province has been pushing the feds to fix the legislation that governs the grant since December.

People eligible have until the end of March to apply for the benefit. Top Stories

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