Supports announced for seniors, families, low-income Islanders and NGOs

Government and community organizations will receive a funding boost to support Islanders most in need of financial help as part of the $20 million dollar support package announced earlier this week. 

Islanders receiving benefits through social assistance or assured income will receive a one-time top up payment of $150 per adult and dependant this month, resulting in a total investment of over a million dollars. 

Not-for-profit and community organizations will receive a total of $500,000 worth of funding to help to cover the costs of the transportation of clients as well as direct funding to clients. 

The Seniors Independence Initiative announced threshold and funding level increases in 2021 and will see another increase of $200 to the funding levels effective April 1, 2022. Now, seniors can qualify for a maximum of $1,700 through the program. Program thresholds remain at $26,500 for a single individual, and $34,000 for a couple. In addition to increases in funding, the program scope has broadened to include communication related to costs associated with a communication device such as a smartphone, computer modem, and wi-fi devices. 

The Salvation Army Home Heating Program income thresholds to access the program will increase to $35,000 for an individual and $45,000 for a family. Individuals or families can now access up to $1,000 annually, an investment of over $3 million dollars. 

Island food banks will receive another $250,000 and $50,000 will be provided to post-secondary student unions to support students in need with food and gas gift cards.  

The Emergency Basic Needs Support program will continue to be administered through the Department of Social Development and Housing and will see a $150,000 investment that will help to cover urgent costs related to the basic needs of individuals and families, during financially challenging times. 

Any Islander who is currently impacted by COVID-19, the rising costs of food, oil and gas and has an unmet need is encouraged to dial 2-1-1 to be directed to nearby community support systems or nearby government offices. In the event that there is a gap in services available within the community, with the caller’s permission, 2-1-1 will provide a referral to the department of Social Development and Housing. Social Development and Housing will use the Emergency Basic Need Support program, to provide access to food, personal prescriptions, over- the- counter medications and other urgent and unmet needs. 

“Over the last few days, we have seen a dramatic increase in gas and oil prices, related to impacts from global events, creating volatility and uncertainty to the world economy. By providing direct supports to community organizations and groups along with making changes to existing government programs, we hope to offset the increasing cost of living.”

-  Premier Dennis King

“This has been an increasingly challenging time for so many Islanders. We have seen the cost of food, gas and home heating rise along with the impacts of COVID-19, says Brad Trivers, Minister of Social Development and Housing. “With these added supports announced earlier this week, we hope to ease the financial burdens for seniors, families and individuals who need it most.”

To access the program, contact the Charlottetown Salvation Army at 902-892-8870 or the Summerside Salvation Army at 902-436-6044 to book an appointment. Appointments are booked on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. 

For more information on the Seniors Independence Initiative and to apply, visit: Seniors Independence Initiative.

For additional information or questions related to cost of living supports, contact

Media contact:
Rebecca Gass
Social Development and Housing

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