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Improvements to Employment and Income Assistance needed urgently

 Tuesday November 24th, I delivered a Members Statement on the current delays occurring when people need to access Employment and Income Assistance (EIA). When people have an urgent need to get in out of the  cold these long delays in accessing EIA are unacceptable.  My Members Statement is below. 

You can also watch it by clicking on this link. 

Improvements to EIA are needed

People experiencing homelessness are having a difficult time during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 A critical issue is delay in accessing Employment and Income Assistance.  EIA is needed to get a place to stay and food to eat.  Today an intake appointment to get EIA has a wait of three weeks.   Because the intake interview is on the phone, those who are homeless may not be available on the phone at the time scheduled.  Those who are homeless do not always have access to a phone.  When they do have access, at a thrift store for example, the store may be closed or someone else may be using the phone at the moment when the EIA intake worker calls.  The government needs to make change so that people can have their intake done when they initially call instead of waiting several weeks.  The person would have their intake quickly, and when they are available.   When a person misses the intake call they have to start all over again and wait another three weeks to get an intake appointment.   The Minister should act immediately to ensure there are enough staff that everyone can have their intake interview the first time they call.

After the intake, there is identification to present and forms to sign at the EIA office.  Sometimes, for varied reasons people have difficulty getting the necessary identification.  EIA needs to be much more proactive in helping homeless people. 

Lastly most people who are homeless do not have credit cards required for purchasing on line, or an address for the purchase to be delivered.   People who are homeless are able to purchase essential food and clothing easily  given their circumstances.  Thrift shops must be considered essential.

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