The Métis Nation of Alberta is unveiling their COVID-19 pandemic plan.
The province-wide action plan hopes to respond to the needs of Métis people immediately affected by the outbreak. The plan will divide funding from the MNA, their affiliates and $7.5 Million from the federal government via the COVID-19 Indigenous community support fund.
Métis Nation Region 2, which oversees the entire Lakeland, including the Lloydminster area, will be receiving some of this help.
President Duane Zaraska says that they have received $200,000 thus far, and they will look to provide more help when the majority of funding comes in.
“This first round, we really, really want to support the people that are really in dire need. The first thing we want to do with this money is provide grocery assistance and emergency financial support for eligible citizens. And what I mean by eligible citizens is people directly impacted by the pandemic.”
Among the first wave receiving the assistance will be people have been laid off, who are not earning income due to being on medical leave or self-isolating, seniors and parents who have been forced to stop working to take care of their children.
The MNA`s plan also includes extra funding for four programs:
- The Citizens, Families and Seniors Direct Support Program, which will receive $1.2 Million Dollars
- the Emergency Child Wellness Benefit Program, which will provide Métis families with a maximum of $500 per eligible child up to $2,500 for three months
- The Emergency Rent Supplement Program, providing up to $1000 in rent relief for three months to people directly impacted by the pandemic.
- The Benevolent Top-Up Fund will also be increased by $500 per applicant
Zarakas says phone calls to his office have been steady, and he is working morning to night to help people out.
“This morning, I had a young lady from Lloydminster, she’s got three children, she’s a single mother, daycare is an issue, she obviously got laid off due to this. That’s the person that really needs assistance.
People needing the assistance can find a full list of programs, community contacts and eligibility requirements for MNA’s COVID-19 Plan on their website.