Information for our Neighbours in Need during the Pandemic- as of April 17, 2020

Local Notes

School-aged children have been missing out on the breakfast and snack programs offered at school. Brant Food for Thought will now be distributing Nutritious Food Boxes through the Food Bank, the Salvation Army (city and Paris locations), Brant Community Church, the 3 large rent-geared-to-income sites and the Burford Food Bank. Their website gives info re: times and procedures.

https://brantfoodforthought.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/How-and-Where-to-access-BFFT-emergency-food_chart-April-2020.pdf

The Brantford Food Bank is now closed on Mondays. They had planned to transition (in March) to a shopping on points basis for clients but this is been delayed.

Brantford Transit has reduced service to hourly and is limiting the number of passengers but the service is free at present.

Government Benefits due to Pandemic

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

  • is a taxable benefit that provides $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose income as a result of the pandemic due to job loss, illness, quarantine, caring for others (including children) and work disruption
  • an individual can earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.

The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and Oct. 3, 2020
  • did not voluntarily quit their job and had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
  • would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and are unable to work due to COVID-19
  • CERB also applies to contract workers and self-employed individuals
  • Canadians who would have received EI benefits below the $2,000-per-month threshold will now be bumped up to the maximum payment
  • EI-eligible workers will still qualify for their usual benefits, whether lower or higher than $2000-per-month, after the four-month CERB period
  • those applying for EI sickness benefits are no longer required to provide a medical certificate
  • applications opened online and by phone on April 6, with payments to arrive within five days for direct deposits and within 10 days for cheques by mail
  • more information is available at canada.ca/coronavirus-CERB

 

GST Credit Increase

Those eligible for the GST credit will receive a one-time special payment of about $400 for singles and $600 for couples on April 9. More information about eligibility

The extra payment amount will be received automatically for those who normally receive the GST/HST credit and have filed a 2018 tax return. Payments will be issued on April 9, 2020.

Canada Child Benefit Increase

The maximum annual CCB payment amount will increase for the 2019-20 benefit year by $300 per child as part of the May payment. The average increase for families will be approximately $550.

The income tax filing deadline for individuals is now June 1.  Individuals that owe taxes can defer payments until September. The Canada Revenue Agency has also halted debt collection.

Those who expect to receive the GST credit and/or Canada Child Benefit (CCB) should file their 2019 returns as soon as possible to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.

Ontario Government’s $200 Childcare Support Benefit

Eligible parents will receive a one-time per child payment of:

  • $200 for children aged 0 to 12
  • $250 for children or youth aged 0 to 21 with special needs
  • this benefit is available to parents irrespective of their income
  • if parents are already receiving Support for Parents’ payments (due to the teacher’s strike) through direct deposit, they will be automatically eligible for this financial support and do not need to submit a new application
  • Applications can only be submitted online.

Student Loans – Payments are paused from March 30 until Sept. 30, with no accrual of interest.

No new eviction notices are to be issued and sheriffs have been advised not to follow through on existing eviction orders.

A Bed for Every Child

The Bed for Every Child project was conceived to help alleviate some of the ill effects of poverty on children in the Brant/Brantford community. The goal is to provide a new bed to a child in an underprivileged home who would otherwise not have a bed in which to sleep. These children are currently sleeping on the floor or carpet or couch or are sharing a bed with parents and/or several siblings. The living conditions in these homes are personally witnessed by SSVP Brant home visitors, who engage in home visits to determine the extent of the need within these families.

Each conference (our Society’s groups) decides which family(ies) has(have) a child in need of a bed.  Then, two members of a conference make a home visit and complete a Demographic Sheet for this family as well as a voucher for a new single bed when they feel it is appropriate.  The completed Demographic Sheet is returned to the Particular Council President, who turns it in to the bed allocation coordinator. The completed bed voucher is left with the client who will redeem it at the store and arrange for delivery of the bed. For purposes of accountability, and in order to ensure that we are good stewards, the bed allocation coordinator keeps track of the money we are given for beds to ensure that it is spent on beds for children.  The bed allocation coordinator also maintains a data base of those who receive a bed.

The need was first recognized 4 years ago, and various groups (mainly 1 local high school) have engaged in various fund-raising activities including pilgrimage walks, all-night sleep-overs, school dress-down days etc. that allowed the program to be established and sustained. The approximate cost per bed is $100. To date, over 280 beds have been given to these very under-privileged children. The provision of beds to these children has made a profound difference in the lives of the children as well as their families, which is of course part of our mission as Vincentians.