August 18, 2023
July 31, 2023
July 25, 2023
We put together our top concerns about the gaps and barriers to housing in Calgary, Alberta using a "Disability and 2LGBTQIA+" lens (persons with disabilities, families, and people who identify as transgendered). Our plan is to then share our experiences, ideas, and solutions with the federal housing advocate in August. We also summarized our ideas and more details are below the comic.
“Top 6 ideas for better housing in Calgary through a 2LGTBQSIA+ lens"
by Disability Action Hall, July 2023
1. Housing in all areas of Calgary
• Affordable housing zoned in all areas of the city, (not just in limited places).
• To prevent alienating people; help people to live in a community of their choice; Allow people to make their own decisions.
• Useful design is near frequent transit with disabled parking spaces near the home.
2. Housing accepts all animals
• People should be able to have animals if they can care for them.
• Housing that accepts all animals as we like living with animals to help us with our emotional and mental well-being to help us get out of bed.
3. The need
to understand and accept all diversity
• “Folks who are trans need safe spaces that are safe to live, “In my experience, they told me they could not have me as I was going through a transition instead of saying ‘Why don’t we move you into men’s housing?’ Please don’t alienate people based on their identity and culture.
• Housing options that are not gender segregated (As that is binary in terms of the way people think)”.
• Allow people to live where they want to live in the place, they want to live in… “As a trans man right now in a time, I would not be comfortable moving into a space with a bunch of guys”. Trust is critical and surrounding neighbours who understand what I am going through helps me feel safe and on common ground.
• There needs to be a lot more flexibility in housing eligibility and options; “I’ve seen senior couples get separated” and have limited options, or when a family is looking for housing are then split apart.
• “Living at a treatment center with women as a transman felt weird, as I felt like a guy living among a bunch of women. Having a sense of community and more opportunity for community support and natural support instead of just slapping labels on us”.
4. Accessible, safe, affordable designed homes
• “Some of the low-income housing doesn’t look like houses, it looks like square boxes; When building homes, they should look nice for people to live in, not a square box. People should have the right to live in a nice house or a nice apartment building, not just square cracker boxes”.
• Accessibility and housing, “I need a shower that I can roll a shower into, otherwise I have no shower. It sucks I can’t shower. We really hope to find a house cause my foster sis moved to Calgary and our needs are for a family, not just me”.
• We need more accessible, and affordable for low-income folks and queer folks.
• Affordable housing also needs to be safe. “Just because it's ‘low-income folks’ it does not mean we don't deserve to live in a clean, safe, comfortable environment”.
• Social housing needs enough funds to help to support the housing to keep it safe and in safe neighborhoods.
5. Housing Supports that build community co-created with people with a variety of disabilities
• “Living in supportive housing with trustworthy staff who don’t steal things from you”.
• When you have support workers coming into the space, design more available housing on how people live, versus around housing providers. It is always nice when the housing provider supports the building of community in the housing.
• People with disabilities should be involved in creating housing so it can be accessible to everyone.
6. All levels of Government work together to help coordinate housing gaps and barriers across the housing spectrum
• PDD does not help people get housing for people with disabilities; The Government needs to help buy their own houses.
• Be able to stay in the housing until we no longer wish to live there.
• The Government to raise people’s incomes so everyone can live where they want.
• All three levels of Government need to coordinate together for housing strategies. When governments don’t coordinate, then it’s left up to the agencies, yet every agency has different criteria and rules for social housing; it is confusing and a lot of work trying to understand, and people fall through the cracks.
• We need a provincial housing minister to work with the city and the federal government.
• The ‘Owen Hart Home Ownership Program’ and ‘Habitat for Humanity' help people buy their home; however people on social aid (like Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped AISH) aren't always eligible to be in the program as our income is too low. Help ensure people who wish to be homeowners on social aid programs qualify for home ownership and mortgages.
June 16, 2023
Alex created this comic to help people learn about why the bill is so important for the Disability Community.
To make the cartoon bigger click on the picture or link.
Frame 1 Group on stage singing"We deserve enough to live"
"The Federal government needs to give."
Frame 2 - Two people talk in a homeElderly male "The federal disability benefit needs to include seniors with disabilities.
Mid-Age female "Yes, disability does not disappear when you turn 65."
Frame 3 Two people in front of a home in the winter
A female in winter clothing says "My provincial disability benefits just aren't enough to cover my basic needs."
Frame 4 Two people in a medical office talk to each otherA male approximately in his 30s in a wheelchair says "Sometimes I have to go hungry because I spend so much on medical supplies."
A female approximately 30 years old and also in a wheelchair says "I need a special diet which is very expensive and not covered by provincial benefits."
Female artist mid-40s says "I love making art but I often can't because the supplies and classes are too expensive."
A male in his late 20s says "You deserve to follow your dreams and passions and to have a good quality of life."
Frame 6 Two people in the kitchen cooking and wearing chef coats and chef hatsA female in her 40s says "People with disabilities don't deserve to live in poverty."
A female in her late 60s says "Let's cook up a benefit that leaves no one behind."
June 13, 2023
Congratulations to Premier Danielle Smith and Minister Jason Nixon of Seniors, Community and Social Services
Members of the Disability Action Hall wanted to share our letter of congratulations to Premier Danielle Smith and Minister Jason Nixon
Plain text to read our letter is below.
June 13th, 2023
Dear Premier Danielle Smith and the United Conservative Party (Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services, Jason Nixon,
Congratulations on your re-election as Premier of Alberta and as Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services. Members of the Disability Action Hall, based in Calgary, have been active in Alberta for over 20 years. We are a group of proud people with disabilities and allies who share stories, take action and change lives. We look forward to working with you and your government on many issues that are important to us including affordability. We appreciated the indexing of social assistance to help us with inflated costs of groceries, rent and utilities. We are doing our best to stretch our dollar, however many of us are having to make many hard choices.
Other areas which we feel are important to collaborate with you on are:
• Affordable, accessible, safe housing,
• Affordable public healthcare and mental health services,
• Affordability through social assistance programs to be permanently indexed to inflation on an annual basis,
• Create a barrier-free accessibility act,
• Continued funding the affordable transit passes across the province,
• And a continued commitment to help people access community, services and supports we need.
Again, congratulations and looking forward to working with you and your government.
Members of the Disability Action Hall
June 2, 2023
Be on the lookout for the "Our and About" summer events in honor of Speak Out 2023 coming up in the summer. June is celebrated as pride month, where the voices and pride of all our communities are honored and celebrated.
May 29, 2023
It's here! Vote Day!
Did you know 22% of Alberta's population has a disability! That's the population of Edmonton!
Our voice matters!
Wishing all good luck at the voter polls today... and don't forget to take your photo outside the polling station and share it with the #lickthevote Village Ice Cream folks today if you want a special ice cream treat! Read the Curiosity Article for more details!
May 26, 2023
Is Alberta Calling? Is Alberta calling? by Disability Action Hall
For the undecided voter, what’s the difference?
Albertans are now making tougher choices between heat, food, medications, and rent. Since the pandemic, the affordability gap between purchasing power and poverty over the last three years has widened for many middle and lower-income Albertans now struggling to pay for basic needs.
" Privilege is invisible to those who have it." - Michael Kimmel
Alberta economic review states there are over 4.6 million people who now call Alberta home, the highest growth rate in the country. Due to the strong growth rate, we are now reminding candidates to strike a better balance for Alberta's future by investing in our social safety net. This move will then aid in all Albertan's recovery and be in a better position to thrive: By improving affordable access to health and mental health care, food security, building and retaining more affordable, safe, accessible housing, increasing timely access to social services, having enough money to live, and good governance.
Here is to hoping after this election we can continue to help rebuild a province where all Albertans are proud to say, "This is our home."
For the undecided voters, we encourage you to visit the Alberta Parties at a glance using a poverty reduction lens “tool.” Good luck with the vote Alberta.
May 19, 2023
Only 1 week left in the Alberta Election.
Check out 5 more things you can do, and it includes all 4 newsletters from 18 community groups from across Alberta.
Good luck with advanced voting!
"5 things to get election ready" (May 19th 2023) Week 4 by Disability Action Hall
May 15, 2023
If you want to see the election key promises for all 14 parties through a poverty lens, please visit this link."5 things to get election ready May 15th 2023" (Week 3) by Disability Action Hall
May 8, 2023
Welcome to edition 2 for "5 more things you can do to get election ready."
Voices of Albertans with Disabilities, the Self-Advocacy Federation, and the Disability Action Hall put together a list during week 2 of the provincial election including upcoming forums, voting tools, and community statements.To view the PDF, please click here. The infographic contains hotlinks.
May 1, 2023
Are you ready for the Alberta election? Here are 5 steps to get started.
To view the PDF, please click here.
The infographic below contains hotlinks.
5 things to get election ready May 1st 2023 by Disability Action Hall
April 5, 2023
Community members asked for a plain language guide using a poverty lens.
We looked at Income, Healthcare, Housing, Accessibility, Social Services, Education/training/work, Accessibility, and Affordability.
The document is interactive and is 5 pages with direct links to the 14 registered parties' websites (Click on the sideways logos on the left side when a party has an official website).
To learn where to vote, click on the icon and words 'We Vote' in the top left corner to visit the "Elections Alberta Page."
The tool will be updated as information comes in from registered parties.
To view the chart in full screen, use this link.
If you need to use an audible guide we recommend opening the chart in a Microsoft Edge browser to read aloud).
(DRAFT) Alberta Party Platforms at a glance by Disability Action Hall
March 28, 2023
We took a look at today's "Made in Canada Plan" and highlighted how Canada is making life a little bit more affordable for everyday Canadians. We also put the page number to help you find and read the details in the plan.
what's new 2023 Canada budget highlights by Disability Action Hall
March 3, 2023
Media Release - Affordable Payment Update, Calgary, AB.
The Bare Necessities -
What $100 buys for Albertans living on low-incomeBare Necessities by Disability Action Hall
Albertans on social assistance, seniors, and Albertans with children whose household income is less than $180,000 per year have just received a second payment of $100. The provincial government estimates $96 million will give some relief to Albertans during the affordability crisis. Members of the Disability Action Hall and friends shared how they spent the first of six payments until June 30th, 2023.
“If it were not for the $100, I would not be able to get what I needed. A $100 to one person might not be much, but for another, it could mean a valuable necessity,” - Angie
The Bare Necessities
Hall members appreciate the help the $100 provides and talked about some of their concerns. Brad Robertson says, “We spent it on the bare necessities of life: shoes, toothpaste, and other hygiene products, the phone bill, a bus pass, iron injections, and shingles shots. However, most people said ‘groceries.’’ Costs have increased 11.4 % since January 2022 in Calgary such as a head of lettuce went up 35%.
One person from Poverty Talks said, “I put my affordability payment towards my dietary needs because I was cut off my dietary benefits for AISH. So really, I gained nothing.”
A single mom shared with us on social media, “The affordability payment went to Groceries for my two kids. I am a single mom with shared custody and on a fixed disability income, so $100 didn’t do much when I used to spend $400 per month on groceries and now spend $650 for the same groceries.”
The Digital Divide and Eligibility
Not all Albertans living in poverty are eligible for the affordability payments. People on no social aid face higher utility bills with nowhere to turn. A person posted "Groceries for my two kids. I’m a single mom with shared custody and on a fixed disability income, so $100 didn’t do much when I used to spend $400/month on groceries and now spend ~$650 for the same groceries.
Another Poverty Talks member said " I am doing just fine and love inflation. I love being a hundredaire.”
According to the Red Deer Advocate “Minister of Technology and Innovation Nate Glubish says he is proud of the public servants who developed a “first-of-its-kind” online application portal in less than two months.” As of February 9th, over 950,000 Albertans signed up.Yet, it is not so easy to apply. Some of our members helped friends and family to apply. While the website has a fact sheet and video on how to apply, it is not always helpful. Minister Glubish suggests people go to their nearest registry if they need help and Alberta Works has opened its office with extended hours.
What will happen in 6 months? Combining policies to address the affordability crisis.
With the temporary and limited relief, the affordability action plan provides Albertans, we are concerned about indexing social assistance to the cost of living.
AACT (Albertans Advocating for Change Together) calculates that when the 6 months of $100 runs out, people on AISH will have about $100/month less than their buying power in January 2019. We need more money in people’s pockets to address affordability. Food Banks of Canada recommends combining policies like the Canada Disability Benefit, creating a minimum income floor like a basic income, greater support for seniors and persons with disabilities and unattached individuals, and more investment into affordable, accessible housing to provide relief to Canadians. Without further coordinated action by all levels of government, the bare necessities that the affordability payments made accessible will once again be out of reach to those with disabilities and low incomes.
February 22, 2023
Today is pink shirt day. We have three ideas for you to try... and if you want to wear pink, you can. However not all of us love pink, the day which began in Nova Scotia in 2007 is about acts of kindness.
|What is Empathy? By Brene Brown|
2. Watch Brene Brown's "What is empathy?" (We posted it before and it's worth sharing again. Empathy pronounced (m-pa-thee) is a video that is just under 3 minutes with playful graphics to enjoy.
3. If you happen to be on social media try out "T.H.I.N.K" when you are on social media or in a heated conversation? The 10-second video below that asks you to "Think before speaking." T=Is it true? H=Is it helpful? I=Is it inspiring? N=Is it necessary. K=Is it kind.