They’re at it again – T8N100Men are raising money for St. Albert's emergency and crisis fund, and they are asking the public for help.
After the success of their food bank campaign earlier this year that raised almost $140,000 for the charity, the charitable social club decided to raise money for what is known as the emergency and crisis fund, which is a fund to help people when they’ve exhausted all other community supports.
John Farlinger, a member of T8N100Men's organizing committee, said a lot of members have been asking what the group's next project would be.
"We have decided one of the other areas that has huge demand now is mental health.”
St. Albert's emergency and crisis fund committee was created in May 2016 when the city allocated $120,000 as a one-time payment to the fund. That money runs out this year.
“This fund, which was $120,000, has dwindled and at the end of the year they will be out of funds. They have helped anybody and everybody in St. Albert,” Farlinger explained. “You name a nonprofit or a charitable organization and they probably received assistance from this group.”
The fund essentially offers financial support to individuals for a variety of issues that wouldn’t be covered by existing funds and charities. The emergency and crisis fund committee works with organizations in the city to decide who needs the funds and what those funds can be used for.
“One of the things that caught our attention here is how aggressively and thoughtfully and carefully they distribute these funds ... They’ve been extremely diligent in handling this funding,” said Farlinger.
Emilee Neilson, the community development co-ordinator with the city, said the program provides funds for not only crisis situations, but also complex issues.
“A lot of the agencies we work with don’t have a budget for financial assistance. If you went to the Family Resource Centre looking for money for school fees, that doesn’t exist. A lot of those agencies don’t have cash financial assistance – they have the supports, they can provide support or help you find the answers you need, but there’s nowhere else you can go that can help you with that little tiny financial push,” Neilson explained.
They fund accommodation, counselling, medication, utilities and transportation, to name just a few of the needs. Neilson said accommodation is one of the top things they use the funding for. The fund has helped people fleeing abusive situations cover damage deposits for housing or relocation fees for people who can no longer afford to live in their homes.
An example Neilson gave was of a mother and her two children abandoned by the mother’s partner. She worked in health care throughout the pandemic, but could no longer afford her home. The crisis fund was used to help her with a damage deposit and her first’s month’s rent.
In the past, the fund has also been used to help people pay university costs that aren’t covered by any other organization.
“There was a student that needed to apply to university. He had a scholarship and everything, but he couldn’t afford the $100 to get the application,” Neilson said.
Neilson said this year the committee is also trying to help post-secondary students who don’t have resources to afford the technology they need for online schooling.
People who need this kind of help can’t just call up the committee, though – they need to first get in touch with a St. Albert agency. Stop Abuse In Families, the St. Albert Seniors Association, Family and Community Support Services and the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village all sit on the committee, and come together once a month to talk about trends they are seeing from their clients and gaps in the community that need to be addressed. Those agencies are also responsible for applying to the fund.