Although the pandemic continues, the coordinated response has stabilized. Therefore we are moving to bi-weekly Community Updates. We shall continue to update our partners on available supports and highlight gaps in services and resources.
We are seeing an increase in cases of low income working seniors with their GIS cut off or reduced in 2021.
- For single low income seniors, Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits kick in if they make less than $18,984 annually, with a monthly maximum of $936.
- It appears that a senior receiving GIS, who would have had up to a $10,000 exemption in 2020 for employment and self-employment earnings, but who instead received only CERB, CRB, CRCB, CRSB or CESB, will lose their exemption, because these earnings are not classified as employment or self-employment earnings.
- Most low income seniors who are also CERB recipients will lose at least 1/2 of their CERB payment because GIS is reduced by the CERB.
- For many seniors, they used their pandemic benefits to catch up on bill payments, car repairs, etc. but they did not consider the impact of being CERB recipients to their GIS.
- COVID19 Related Rent Arrears Assistance: funding exists to support any low income tenants who are struggling to pay their rent due to COVID19 related issues. Agencies can contact 2-1-1 to complete a referral form or go to: https://brucegrey.cioc.ca/record/GRE0080?Number=8
Policy discussions continue for reforms to EI and other supplement programs for a better system to respond to a national emergency. Open Policy Ontario – what happens next, Basic Income Canada
INCOME AND EMPLOYMENT SUPPORTS
- Seniors One Time Payment: Starting the week of Aug. 16, the government will provide a one-time payment of $500 to every senior who will be 75 and over by the summer of 2022.
- The She-Recovery Project report has sparked many organizations to increase support to women returning to the workforce.
- COVID-19-related job losses have been highest among racialized women, particularly Asian and Black women, as well as younger and lower-income women.
- Single mothers, Indigenous women, immigrant women, women with disabilities, rural women, transgender-identifying women, and other intersectional groups tend to also be experiencing greater financial consequences than most Ontarians
- Women in Biz Network are offering FREE strategic support through a ‘She-covery’ Campaign to bring women back to the workforce.
- The Four County Labour Market Planning Board COVID19 impact survey on the workforce, particularly women, is still open.
- Getting Ahead: the virtual program completed its Refresh group with 9 participants from Bruce County and Grey County. Contact the Adult Learning Centre, Bruce County or Grey County OW for registration for 2 Fall sessions.
- Canada Disability Benefit: 22% of all Canadians have disabilities. Of the 6.2 million Canadians who live with a disability, almost 30% live in poverty. Disability Without Poverty, a newly formed disability-led movement is advocating to make the federal government’s promise of a Canada Disability Benefit into a reality.
- Canadian Mortgage and Housing Association (CMHA): has created a new Indigenous Advisory Council. The Council will co-create a reconciliation action plan to guide the review of their programs, policies and business processes. This will ensure that CMHC considers the unique needs of Indigenous peoples and addresses barriers to accessing our programs and services. If you have questions about the Indigenous Advisory Council or their work, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Golden Dawn received a grant for a feasibility study and is conducting a survey with North Bruce Peninsula residents, to better understand their senior care and housing needs. Go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/goldendawnsurvey
- Sex for Rent: we are seeing more cases recently of tenants offering favours for discount rent or to maintain tenancy. A recent study in the US has sen an increase in sex for rent with “coronovirus poverty’. Like human trafficking, this is a human rights issue but one that some tenants may need support to find alternative tenancy. Please connect with emergency housing supports and/or housing/shelter programs in Grey Bruce.
FOOD SECURITY SUPPORTS
- Food Grey Bruce: The 10 operating community meal programs saw their busiest month in June with more than 16,700 meals provided to food insecure and vulnerable people throughout Grey/Bruce. OSHaRE distributed just under 10,000 of those meals. OSHaRE has distributed 118,000 meals since the start of the pandemic.
- 6,418.14 kilograms of food was diverted to meal programs and 13.61 kilograms was diverted to food banks from corporate sources via foodrescue in June 2021.
- A total of 53,895.69 kilograms of food was diverted from Sept 2020 to June 2021.
- 10,666 kilograms of food was distributed to 765 HHs by 17 food banks in June 2021.
- A total of 138,166 kilograms of food was distributed to 9,442 HHS by 17 food banks from Sept 2020 to June 2021.
- Meals2Motels: 535 meals were distributed to people sheltering in motels. A total of 10,793 meals have been distributed since April 2020.
- Overdose Awareness Month: in August many actions are taking place to create more awareness. More than 30 people in Grey Bruce have died from drug overdoses in Grey Bruce since just the start of the covid pandemic. Some communities are holding vigils and others are creating visible reminders.
- Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy (CDAS): After a presentation by the CDAS team on the nature of substance addiction and how more needs to be done to support sufferers, Grey County council agreed on July 23rd to look at what more the county could do.
- The presentation included
- statistics showing an escalating problem prior to COVID although the challenges have been compounded due to the pandemic.
- the response to date by partners
- overall costs attributable to substance-related harms including healthcare, lost productivity, criminal justice, and other direct costs.
- The value of sharing lived experience about living with a substance use disorder was discussed as was the value of providing anti-stigma training, identifying and responding to an overdose, identifying when someone might be in withdrawal, and understanding that the need is individual.
- Treatment, safe drug supply and safe injection all need to be on the top of our public health and safe community discussions.
- The Council commended the work done by the various organizations with limited funding, capacity and wait times, and improving the way services are provided.
- Safe N Sound Needle Syringe Program: since June of 2020 more than 37,000 “sharps” have been safely collected through a program created by Safe N Sound, the United Way, and Grey County.
- Community food programs have been encouraged to reach out to the Harm Reduction Team and to educate their staff/volunteers on how to deal with sharps.
Stay well, Jill