OLDS — Mountain View Seniors' Housing (MVSH) board chair Heather Ryan says the provincial government increased the disposable income benefit for low-income seniors earlier this year but did not provide funds to cover that extra outlay.
As a result, MVSH has to find that money somehow, somewhere. That may mean rejigging the organization’s budget or increasing its requisition from the town, Ryan, an Olds councillor, said during the Feb. 27 Olds council meeting.
Requisitions are contributions from the town required by certain organizations. The town has no say in those amounts and must pay them as requested.
The Albertan emailed a spokesman in the province’s Seniors, Community and Social Services ministry for comment, but did not receive a response by press time.
Via email, Ryan said the MVSH board has “not discussed a budget adjustment yet,” adding that "likely won’t come to the board until after the first quarter.”
The matter came up as council accepted a summation of the Feb. 2 MVSH board meeting in council’s agenda package.
“The board noted that effective Jan. 1, 2023, the government of Alberta directed a $20 increase in the disposable income benefit, from $322 to $343 per month, for eligible seniors living in lodge facilities.
“There is, however, no additional funding to cover this increase, so it will have a cost impact on the municipal requisitions in order for MVSH to meet the new required amount,” that summation said, listing key messages from the MVSH board meeting.
Coun. Darren Wilson asked for clarity on the matter.
Ryan said the provincial government made a similar decision a year or two ago but it only amounted to an increase of about $7 per senior and the provincial government covered part of that extra cost.
“But this time they’ve covered none of it,” she said.
“It ends up costing of course, Mountain View Seniors' Housing X amount of dollars and the only way to raise the capital to cover it is through requisition. So it will have an impact,” she said.
Ryan said MVSH might be able to find money to cover the increase by making some adjustments in the organization’s budget but at the time of the council meeting, she had not yet discussed that with the MVSH controller.