CALGARY -- Albertans who pay rent may soon enjoy the support of two new rental benefits introduced by the provincial government Friday.

Officials say that following a review of Alberta's Rent Supplement Program, they will be adding a long-term benefit and a new temporary benefit to help working Albertans during the pandemic.

Minister of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon says the revamped program will help more people and families.

"This past year reinforced the importance of safe, stable and affordable housing. Our program review clearly identified that some households in Alberta’s big cities have been overlooked by provincial housing programs. These changes will help the program meet the needs of Albertans now, and in the future," she said in a release.

The two benefits are the Rent Assistance Benefit, which replaces the Direct to Tenant Rent Supplement, to help low income Albertans and the Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit, which provides a "modest subsidy" to help tenants with costs.

Officials say applications for the first benefit will be accepted starting April 1 while applications open for the second benefit on May 1.

The decision to create the two benefits comes from the recommendations brought forward by the Affordable Housing Review Panel.

The chair of that committee is glad that the government is taking action on the work that was accomplished.

"Through the Affordable Housing Review, we heard directly from stakeholders and tenants that there was room for Alberta’s government to improve the Rent Supplement Program," said Mickey Amery, MLA for Calgary Cross and chair of the panel, in a release. "As a result, the panel recommended the government increase funding for rent assistance and create a modest subsidy program."

It expects the benefit will support the housing needs for approximately 11,600 households.

Further information can be found on the government's website.